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BR 165 .M83213 1853 v. 2 
Mosheim, Johann Lorenz , 

16947-1755. 
Historical commentaries on 

the state of Christianity 

V Z 



HISTORICAL COMMENTARIES 

ON THE 

STATE OF CHRISTIANITY 

DURING THE FIRST THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE YEARS 

FROM 

THE CHRISTIAN EEA: 

BEING 
A TRANSLATION OF 

-THE COMMENTARIES ON THE AFFAIRS OF THE CHRISTIANS BEFORE THE 
TIME OF CONSTANTINE THE GREAT," 

BY JOHN LAURENCE VON " MOSHEIM, D.D. 

LATE CHANCELLOB OF THE UNIVEBSITV OF GOTTENGEN. 



3n tan f nlumrs, 

VOL. II. 



VOLUME L TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL LATIN, 

BY 

ROBERT STUDLEY VIDAL, Esq. F.S.A. 

VOLUME n. TRANSLATED, AND BOTH VOLUMES EDITED, 
BY 

JAMES MURDOCK, D.D. 



NEW-YORK: 

PUBLISHED BY S. CONVERSE. 
1853. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one^ 

By James Murdock, 

in the Clcrk'a Office of the District Court of Connecticut District 



D. Fansiiaw, Printer and Stereotyper, 
35 Ann, corner of Nassau-strceL 



CONTENTS OF VOL. 11. 



Page. 
The Ecclesiastical History of the Third Century, . . . • 1-411 

§1. Christianity propagated in Arabia : Orfo'/w, ^ 

2. Christianity propagated among the Goths: Z7/p/n7as, ... 1 

3. Christianity propagated in Gaul, Germany, and Scotland. — General view, 2 

n. (1) (2) The first preachers to the Gaiils, "^ 

n. (3) The first preachers to the Germans, 

4- Causes of the progress of Christianity : Miracles and Virtues of Christians, 

5. Persecution under Severus: at first light. — General view, ... 

n. (1) Christians often bought exemption from it, . 

6. Severus prohibited conversions to Christianity. — General view, 

n. (1) Tenor of his edict, p. 8. — Why so many suffered, p. 10. — Cause 
of the Edict, 

7. State of Christians under Caracalla and Heliogabalus.— General view. 



n. (2) Mother of Heliogabalus, pious : he indifferent to Christianity. 
n. (3) Heliogabalus disposed to tolerate Christianity, 

8. State of Christians under Alexander Severus — General view, 

72. (1) His mother, Julia Mammcea, favored Christians, 

n. (2) Whether Alexander was a Christian, discussed, . 

n. (3) The old persecuting laws unrepealed, 

9. The persecution under Maximin. — General view, .... 

n. (1) It reached only the clergy, 

n. (2) Not many put to death, 

n. (3) Other causes produced persecution, 

10. Tranquillity under Gordian and Philip. — General view, 

72. (1) Philip's reported conversion, examined, 

11. Persecution under Decius. — General view, ..... 

n. (1) Cause of the persecution, 

n. (2) Tenor of the edict, p. 28. — executed diversely, p. 29. — 

It introduced new modes of proceeding, 
72. (3) Numerous apostasies, p. 31. — The Lihellatici, who? 

12. Contests respecting the lapsed. — General view, .... 

n. (3) Martyrs and Confessors absolved the lapsed, 

72. (4) Cyprian opposed to the practice, .... 

13. Contest between Cyprian and Novatus. — General view, • 

72. (I) Its origin obscure, p. 4G. — Novatus gave ordination, p. 4G. — 
He fled to Rome 

14. Schism of Felicissimus at Carthage. — General view, 

72. (1) A party opposed to Cyprian, ..... 
n. (2) Character of Felicissimus, and grounds of his opposition. 

Proceedings of Cypriaii, p. 54. — Novatus withdrew, 
72. (3) Council condemned Felicissimus, .... 



10 
11 
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56 



iV CONTENTSOFVOLII. 

Page. 

15. Scliism of Novatian at Rome. — General view, 5\) 

«. (1) Novatiau's character, p. 60,— and opposition to Cornelius, . 61 

n. {'2) Novatus of Carthage, his adviser, 63 

n. (3) Novalian condemned by a Council, 65 

n. (4) The Novatian sect, 66 

IG. Tlu' Novatian doctrines examined. — General view, 66 

n. (1) He excluded gross offenders from the church, for ever, . 67 

But not from all hope of salvation, 70 

T7. (2) Novatian's idea of the church, 71 

17. The persecution under Gallus. — General view, 73 

n. (1) Not so severe as some have supposed, 73 

72. (2) Public calamities induced the people to persecute . . .76 

Cyprian's dispute with Demetrianus on this subject, . . 76 

18. Disputes respecting baptisms by heretics. — General view, . . . .78 

7j. (1) Points at issue : Effects of baptism. — Defects in that of heretics, 79 
n. (2) Contest between Cyprian and Stephen on this subject, shows 

the parity of Bishops, in that age, 80 

History of this baptismal controversy, p. 81. — It was first with 
Asiatics and then with Africans, (p. 84.) — Cyprian's pro- 
ceedings in it, 84 

19. Tlie persecution under Valerian. — General view, ..... 91 

n. (I) Valerian, first indulgent ; but prompted by Macrianus to persecute, 92 
Motives of Macrianus, p. 93. — First proceedings in the persecution, 94 
New methods of proceeding adopted, ..... 96 

n. (2) Valerian's second and severer edict, ...... 96 

Many Christians of rank, then in the emperor's household, . 97 
Cause of issuing the edict, p. 99. — Edict revoked by Gallienus 100 
Some martyrdoms after the revocation, ..... 100 

20. Persecution under Aurelian. — General view, 100 

TJ. (2) Did Aurelian, at first, treat Christians kindly ? . . .101 
77. (3) His motives for persecuting them, 102 

21. Efforts of Philosophers against Christianity. — General view, . . .103 

71. (3) Writings of Porphyry, Philostratus, and Hierocles, . . 104 

They aimed to lower Christ to a level with the Philosophers, . 105 

Apuleius' Fable of the golden Ass, 105 

82, First movements ag. Christians, under Diocletian.— General view, . .106 

n. (1) Maximian, his colleague, a persecutor, .... 107 

Story of the Thebaean Legion, fully discussed, . . .107 

Mosheim's judgment respecting it, 112 

Ti. (2) Persecution of Maximian in Gaul, 113 

n. (3) Prosperity of the church, before the Diocletian persecution, . 115 

23. Constitution and goveniment of the church.— General view, . . . 115 
n. (1) Testimonies from Cyprian, that the Bishops could not act, in pri- 
vate matters, without the concurrence of Presbyters ; nor in 

public matters, without the consent of the brotherhood, . 116 

Except to ordain Confessors; which usage had sanctioned, . 118 
(2) Proofs from Cyprian, of the parity of all Bishops ; the Romish 

Bishop not excepted, 220 



CONTENTS OF VOL. II, 



Yet priority of rank or honor was conceded to the Romish Bishop, 
n. (3) Reasons for creating the minor orders of tho Clergy, . «• . 

24. Prerogatives of Bishops mucli enlarged, in this century. — General view, 

n. (1) Causes and proofs of the fact, ...... 

: Cyprian held, that God makes the Bishops; the church makes 

the Presbyters ; and the Bishops makes the Deacons, . 
On these principles he subverted the constitution of the ancient 

church, 

And his views spread and prevailed every where, 

25. Tlie morals of the Clergy. — General view, ...... 

n. (1) Complaints of the corruption of the Clergy, 
n. (2) Cohabitation of unmarried priests with females, disapproved. 
How apologised for, 

26. State of learning, and the Christian writers, in this cent. — General view, 

n. (1) Proof that human learning was undervalued, . 

n. (2) Works of the Greek Fathers. — Origen, .... 

Julius Africanus, Dionysius Alex, and Hippolytus, . 

Gregory of Neocaesarea, Thaumaturgus, .... 

n. (3) Works of the Latin Fathers. — Cyprian, .... 

Minutius Felix and Arnohius, ....*. 

27. Philosophising Theologians : Origen. — General view, .... 



(1) Origen a great man. Deservedly praised much and censured much, 144 



Huet defends him, in his Origeniana, .... 

Other apologists for Origen, ....... 

Origen truly great, in a moral view, ..... 

More learned than profound, p. 149. — A disciple of Ammonius 
Saccas, ......... 

Origen's i)hilosophic principles, ....*. 

His views of the connexion of philosophy with Christianity, 
His system of theology ; — the Trinity, .... 

Person of Christ, p. 160. — Object of Christ's mission, 

Idea of the Atonement, 

26. Origen^s allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures. — General view, 
n. (1) How far Origen the author of this mode of interpretation. 
Causes leading him to adopt it, . . . . 
His system of interpretation stated in xviii Propositions, 
Seven Rules for the application of his principles, 
n. (2) Account of Origen's Hexapla, . . . . 

29. Origen^s mystic theology. — General view, ..... 

n. (1) He held all tho fundamental principl-s of mystic theology. 

His principles stated in xxi Propositions, 
n. (2) Rise of Eremitism, examined. — Paul of Thcbais, &c. 

30. Origen's contests with his Bishop. — General view, 

n. (1) Causes of disagreement, and history of the contest, 

31. Discussions concerning the Trinity and the Person of Christ. — General view 

n. (1) Councils condemned Unitarianism but did not define Trinity in 
Unity, 

32. The Noetian controversy. — General view, .... 



Paga. 
123 
127 
128 
128 

131 

134 
137 
137 
138 
138 
139 
141 
141 
141 
141 
142 
142 
142 
143 



145 

147 
148 

150 
150 
1.^4 
159 
161 
164 
165 
166 
170 
173 
181 
169 
190 
190 
191 
198 
200 
201 
209 

210 
210 



VI 



CONTENTS OF VOL. II. 



PaL'G. 
n. (1) Sources of knowledge of it, and account of the man, . 210 

n. (2) His sj-stem examined and fully stated, . . . . 210 

n. (3) Inwhat sense he was a Patripassian, .... 215 

33. Sahcllius, and the Sabellians. — General view, 215 

V (1) History of tlie man, and of the controversy, .... 21G 

71, (2) The common statement of Sabellius' views, .... 217 

His principles examined, and correctly stated in vi. Propositions, 217 

34. Bcryllus of Bostra. — General view, 225 

H. (1) Eusebius' account examined. The views of Beryllus stated, . 226 

35 Paul of Samosata. — General view, 228 

7j. (1) His personal character examined, ...... 229 

His office of Ducenarius Procurator explained, . . . 230 
71. (2) Full account of the documents concerning him, . . . 232 

His opinions stated in xiv. Propositions, 233 

n. (3) Proceedings of Councils against him, 239 

36. The Arabians, whom Origcn reclaimed. — General view, . , . 242 

n. (1) Their opinions stated, ^ 243 

37. Benefits to Christianity from Philosophy, in three particulars, . , . 243 

38. Chiliasm Vanquished. — General view, ....... 244 

n. (1) History of Chiliasm in the early church, .... 245 

Derived from the Jews, p. 245. — Spread unrebuked in the 2d 

Century, p. 246. — but was depressed in the 3d Century, 
Assailed by Origen, p. 247. — Defended by Nepos, p. 248. — 
Different systems of it, p. 249. — Dioriysius of Alexandria 
nearly exterminated it, 

39. The rise of Manichajism. — General view, ...... 

n. (1) Manes a prodigy of a man; — greatly resembled Mahommed, 

Ancient documents, p 252 — and modern writers on Manichaeism, 254 

40. Tiic life and labors of Manes. — General view, ..... 255 

Tj. (1) His name, p. 257. — His history, according to the Gr.& Lat. writers, 257 
His history, according to the Oriental Writers, .... 258 

Which account most credible, p. 259. — Details of the Oriental 
account, .......... 

71. (2) Manes held, that Christ taught the way of salvation imperfectly, 
and that he promised to send the Paraelete, i. e. Ma7ies, to give 
the world more full instruction, . . • . 

Of course, his office was, (I) To purge the existing cliristianity 
from its corruptions ;— and (II) to perfect, or supply its defi- 
ciencies, • •..... 

Arguments, by which he supported his claims, 
n. (3) He discarded the O. Test, altogether ; and held the N. Test, to 

be so corrupted that it was not a safe guide, 
u. (4) The liema, or anniversary of Manes' death, how observed, . 

41. His two eternal Worlds, and two eternal Lords.— General view, 

71. (1) His mode of substantiating his doctrines 

^cau.soferp's History of Manichtnism, criticised, . 

Manes followed the Persian philosophy, and maintained twofrst 

principles of all things, and two Lords, .... 276 



247 



250 
251 
252 



2 59 



262 



266 
268 

269 
274 
275 
275 
275 



CONTENTSOrVOL.il. \i\ 

Pag(5. 
n. C2) Full description of both worlds, and of tho five elements andyiwe 

provinces in cacli, ........ 270 

n. (3) The two eternal and self-existing Lords of these worlds ; their 

characters compared and contrasted, 283 

42. Nature and attributes of the good God — General view, .... 287 

n. (1) Maues^ own description of him. — I. His substance is the pueest 

light, and without form, 287 

Yet, II. he has perception and knowledge, .... 288 

III. He has xii. Members, or masses of light, revolving through 

his world and representing himself, 288 

IV. He has innumerable Saecula, Mons, or luminous bodies is- 
suing from him, and acting as his ministers, . . . 289 

V. He is himself not omnipresent, 290 

VI. His moral attributes are perfect ; but neither his knowledge, 

nor his power, is infinite, . • . . . . 291 

43. The Manicha3an Trinity. Christ and the H. Sp. — General view, . . 292 

n. (1) He held a sort of Trinity ; but diverse from that of the Christians, 293 
n. (2) The Son of God a shining mass,o{ the same substance with God 

and having the same attributes in a lower degree, . . 295 

He resides in the sun, but his influence extends to the moon, 296 
Hence some worship was paid to the sun and moon. — This 

point discussed, ........ 293 

n. (3) The H. Spirit is another shining mass, an efilux from God, re- 
siding in the ether. He enlightens and moves the minds of 

men, and fructifies the earth, 302 

n. (4) Manes' doctrine of the Son and the II. Sp. coincided with the 

Persian doctrine of Mithras and the Ether, .... 303 

44. War of the Prince of darkness on the Prince of light. — General view, . 304 

n. (1) The Prince of darkness ignorant of God and of the world of 
light, till an accidental discovery of them led him to assail 
them for plunder, 305 

On seeing the enemy, God produced the Mother of Lfe, and she 
produced the First Man, a giant in human form, whom God 
sent as generalissimo to expel the Prince of darkness and his 
forces, ........•• 306 

First Man was directed to use artifice rather than force, and to 

bait the Demon with good matter, 308 

First Man did so, p. 309 — And the plan succeeded in part, 310 

But unexpectedly, some sad consequences resulted ; for I. four of 
the celestial elements became combined with the base ele- 
ments ; and many souls were captured by the Demons, • 310 

II. The Prince of Darkness devoured Jesus, the sou of the First 
Man, 311 

Miinichaeans held to two Jesuses, a passive and impassive, . 311 

III. First Man was near being conquered. — p. 313. — and God 
sent another general, the Living Spirit, a luminous mass, 

. Til 

issuing from himself, . . . , . ji-* 

The origin of our noxious animals, . . . . J14 



VUl CONTENTS OF VOL.11. 

Page. 

The wliole fable was devised to account for tlie junction of 

celestial souls with material bodies, .... 315 

45. Origin, composition, and character of Man. — General view, . . 31G 

n. (1) Manes' account of Adam's origin from Satan, is to be taken lite- 
rally, and not, as Beausobre supposed, allegorically, • 317 

Jlfunf*' own statement, at large, ... . 317 

Aiigustines' more brief statement, . . . . . 318 

Adam was produced at the beginning of the second war, and 
before the victory of the Living Spirit and the creation of 
our world, . . . . . . . . • .319 

Tlie design of Satan was, to retain possession of captured souls, 

and, by them, to enlarge his empire, .... 321 

Adam was a giant, and bore the likeness of the First Man, and 

also of the Prince of darkness, 321 

Manes' opinion of the nature and origin of human souls, . . 322 

The origin and character of Eve, 322 

n. (2) Manes' ideas of Adam's first sin examined, .... 323 

Statements of Tijrho, Manes, and Augustine, . . . 323 

Tiie facts drawn out and arranged, 324 

n. (3) Manes believed man to be composed of three parts ; viz. a sinful 
body derived from the body of the Prince of darkness, p. 325. 
— and two souls : the one evil, lustful, and propagated from 
the Prince of darkness ; — the other of celestial origin, un- 
changeably good, communicated from parents to their children, 327 

Hence, only the evil soul commits sin ; and the good soul is de- 
linquent only in not restraining its evil associate, . . 328 
4G. Formation of this world. Its structure and design. — General view, . . 330 
71. (1) By God's command, the Living Spirit framed our world, to be 
the residence of men, until their celestial souls are prepared 
for heaven ; p. 330. — and to give opportunity for rescuing the 
celestial matter now mixed with the base matter, . . 331 

This world is composed of the same elements, a little deteriorated, 
as the heavenly world, and similarly arranged ; so that this our 
world is a a picture or image of the heavenly world, . 332 

n. (2) The matter of our world, when it was rescued from the Prince of 
darkness, consisted of celestial elements, either pure or defiled 
with a mixture of evil matter, 333 

Of the pure and good fire and good light, tho sun was formed ; 
and of the pure and good water, the ?noon, . . . 333 

Of the good air, probably, the ether of our world was formed, . 333 

Of the matter slightly contaminated, our heavens and the stars 
were formed, 334 

The earth was formed of the celestial matter, which was debased 
and pervaded by evil matter, 334 

The bad matter not combined with good matter, was excluded 
from our world, and separated by a wall or barrier, . . 334 
o. (3) Before he created our world, the Living Sjnrit imprisoned the 

Demons in the air and the stars, 334 



CONTENTSOFVOL.il. ix 

Tngc. 

But still they are mischievous. They seduce men to sin, and 

propagate idolatry, which is the worship of themselves, . 336 

They also send on us tempests, earthquakes, pestilences, and 

wine, 333 

n. (4) Our world is borne up by a huge giant called Otnophorus, who 

is assisted by another, called Splenditenens, . . . 338 
47 The mission and offices of Christ. — General view, ..... 340 
n. (1) Christ's mission had two objects ; — first, to accelerate the re- 
covery of souls from defilement, — and, secondly, to relieve 
the wearied Otnophorus, 342 

He came from the sun, and assumed the shadow of a man, . 342 

His body needed no sustenance, and no rest. He wrought 

miracles ; 344 

And instructed mankind, ....... 345 

The Demon incited the Jews to kill him : but, having no body, 

he could not die, 345 

Of course, the Manichteans did not observe the festival of 
Christ's nativity ; nor make much account of that of his 
death, 347 

48. Christ as the Saviour of men. — General view, 349 

n. (1) Manichaeans used the Bible language respecting Christ: but 

Christ could not die ; and sinless souls needed no atonement, 350 
A celestial soul can never be contaminated ; but it may be cri- 
minally negligent, and so need to repent and be forgiven, . 351 
n. (2) Christ taught men the truth, and showed them how to purify 

themselves for a return to God, 353 

The severe bodily mortifications of the Manichaeans, . . 353 
They reduced all moral duties to three heads, called Signacula, 356 
The duties belonging to the Signaculum of the mouth, enume- 
rated, 357 

Those belonging to the Signaculum of the hands, described, 361 

Those of the bosom, all related to sexual pleasures, . . 365 

49. The return of souls to the world of light. — General view, .... 366 

n. (1) The H. Spirit aids souls in freeing themselves from defilement, 367 

n. (2) Repentance atones for the involuntary sins of celestial souls, . 368 
n. (3) The return of souls, at death, to the world of light ; and their 

double purgation, first in the moon, and then in the sun, 369 
n. (4) The bodies return to their kindred earth, and will never be re- 
suscitated, ......... 372 

50. Condition of unpurgated souls after death. — General view, . . . 373 

n. (1) If not exceedingly faulty, they will pass into other bodies, of men, 

or brutes, or vegetables, 373 

n. (2) This transmigration is disciplinary or reformatory. The rules 

of it, 377 

51. Liberation of the Passive Jcsu5. — General view, 379 

n. (1) The scattered particles of celestial matter are drawn up, purgat- 

ed in the sun, and returned to the world of light, • • 380 

n. (2) The Passive Jasus, or son of First Man, whom the Donioua 



Z CONTENTS OF VOL II. 

rage, 
devoured, is strangely sweated out of them, and then rescued 
from defiling matter and saved, ..... 380 

52 End of this world, or the consummation of all things.— General view, . 385 

71. (1) When most of the souls and of the celestial matter, now defiled 
by gross matter, shall have been rescued, this world will be 
burned up, and the demons sent back to the world of darkness, 386 
fi. (2) The irreclaimable souls will be stationed on the frontiers of the 
world of light, as a guard, to prevent future inroads of the 
Demons, ......... 387 

Our reasons for dwelling so long on the Manichagan system, . 388 
The general character of this system, 3S9 

53. The public Worship of the Manichseans. — General view, . . . 389 

Tj. (1) They had no temples or altars, no images, and no love-feasts. 

Their worship was very simple, and quite unobjectionable. 

Prayers, hymns, reading their sacred books, and exhortations, 
with their annual festival of Bema, and Sunday fasts and as- 
semblies, were the substance of it, 390 

54. The private worship of the ^Zect — General view, ..... 391 

7j. (1) No Auditor was admitted to this worship of the Elect, . .391 
n. (2) In it. Baptism was administered to such of the Elect as de- 
sired it. But it was not regarded as obligatory on them all, 392 
n. (3) They observed the Lord's Supper : but in what manner is un- 
known, 396 

55. Constitution of their Church. — General view, 398 

n. (1) A Pontiff, with xii Magistri, presided ovea Ixxii Bishops , and 
under each Bishop, were Presbyters, Deacons and Evange- 
lists : all from among the Elect, 399 

n. (2) The community was divided into two Classes ; — the Elect or 
Perfect, a very small Class, and subjected to a most rigorous 
discipline ; — and the Auditors or Catechumens, who married, 
pursued worldly occupations, and lived much like other people, 399 

56. The sect of the Hieracites. — General view, 404 

Ti. (1) Character, life, and doctrines of Hierax, .... 405 

I. He regarded the whole Bible as inspired ; and wrote allegor- 

ical comments on it, . . . . . . . , 405 

II. Respecting God and the Trinity, he was orthodox, . . 407 

III. He considered Melchisedek as a representative of the Holy 
Spirit, «... 407 

IV. Christ, he supposed, merely taught a stricter morality than 
Moses, 408 

V. He forbid marriage, flesh, wine, and all pleasures, . . 408 

VI. Hierax taught that marriage was allowed under the O. Test, 
but is unlawful under the N.Test. — Yet he probably allowed 

the imperfect among his disciples to marry, . . . 408 

VII. The Mosaic history of Paradise, he regarded as an allegory, 409 

VIII. He enjoined a very austere life on his followers, . . 410 

IX. He denied the resurrection of the body, . . . .410 

X. He excluded from heaven all who died in infancy, . . 410 



CONTENTS OF VOL. 



XI 



Page. 

Tlie Ecclesiasticdl History of the Fourth Century^ 412-481 

1. The Pagan Priests urge a new Persecution. — General view, . . . 412 

n. (1) Flourishing state of the church, and the character of the empe- 
rors, when the century commenced, , . . . -412 
The alarmed priests plotted the destruction of the Christians, and 

appealed to the superstition of Diocletian, . . • .414 

2. Maximian Galerius, from ambitious motives, urged Diocletian to persecute the 

Christians. — General view, 416 

n. (1) Maximian, rather than Diocletian, the author of this persecution, 417 
The causes of it, p. 417.— It commenced in the year 303, at 

Nicomedia, 420 

Hierocles an adviser of it. p. 421. — Diocletian reluctantly con- 
sented, 422 

Contents of the first imperatorial edict, 422 

T?. (2) The proceedings under this edict, 426 

3. The first year of the persecution. — General view, 428 

n. (1) Two fires in the palace of Nicomedia, falsely charged upon the 

Christians, cause many of them to be put to death, . . 428 
71. (2) These fires, and political disturbances in Syria and Armenia, pro- 
duce a new edict, requiring the seizure and incarceration of 

all Christian teachers, 432 

A third edict required them to be tortured into sacrificing to the 

Gods, 433 

n. (3) The western provinces under Constantius Chlorus suffer but little, 454 

4. The fourth and severest edict of Diocletian, A. D, 304. — General view, . 435 

n. (1) Tenor of the edict, and its execution. It required all Christians 

to sacrifice, and ordered them to be tortured into compliance, 436 
Some Christians voluntarily courted martyrdom, . . 439 

n. (2) Seeing the Christians now much depressed, Maximian compelled 
the two Emperors to resign their power, and made himself 

Emperor of the East, 439 

This change in the government benefitted the Christians of the 

West, under Constantius Chlorus, 441 

The Christians of the East gained nothing. Their condition in 

Syria and Egypt, 443 

6. Civil wars, and the state of Christians, A. D. 306-311. — General view, . 444 
n. (1) Maximian's fruitless machinations against Constantino, . . 445 
Revolt of Maxentius, and the civil wars, .... 44G 
State of Christians during these wars, p. 448. — In the West, 
Constantine favored them, p. 448. — Yet he was not then a 

Christian, ......... 449 

Maxentius also favored them, 450 

But in the East, Maximian persecuted them, . . .451 
n. (3) In the year 311, Maximian, on his death bed, relaxed the per- 
secution, 452 

6. The edicts of Constantine, A. D. 312, 313, in favor of Christians.— General 

view, 454 



Xii CONTKNTSOFVOL.il. 

Page. 
n. (1) Theirs/ edict, at the close of 312, gave full religious liberty to 

Christians, and to all persons of every religion, . . . 455 
The second edict, from Milan, A. D. 313, removed ambiguities 

from the first edict, and added some privileges to the Christians, 456 
In the East, Maximin contravened the last edict of Maximian ; 

and expelled the Christians from some cities, < . »- . . 457 
Subsequently he issued edicts favorable to them, . . . 458 
la the year 311, Maximin died, and persecution ceased every- 
where, 459 

7 Constauline's Conversion. — General view, 459 

71. (1) The reality of Constantine's conversion proved, . . . 460 
Objections answered : viz. the first, from his vices, p. 460. — the 
second, from his late Baptism, p. 461. — the third from his 
political interest to feign himself a Christian, . . . 464 
He was a Deist, till long after the year 303, . . . 465 
His conversion was soon after the year 322, ... . . 469 
His enlightenment gradual : a statement of Zosimus examined, 470 
n. (2) His vision of a cross in the heavens. Dispute as to the time of it, 472 
Dispute as to its reality, p. 472. — The opinion that it was a fabri- 
cation, examined, 473 

Was he asleep or awake, at the time of it, 474 

"Was the apparent cross a natural phenomenon, . . . 476 

Mosheim's opinion on the whole subject, . . » . 479 

£. A short persecution by Licinius. — General view, 479 

n (1) Authorities on the subject. — Motives and progress of the persecu- 
tion, , .480 






THE 



ECCLESIASTICAL Hr»^(>HY 



OF THE 



THIRD CENTURY, 



§ I. Propagation of Christianity in Arabia. That the [p. 448.] 
limits of the Christian commonwealth were much extended during 
this century, no one hesitates to admit; but, in what manner, by 
whose instrumentality, and in what parts of the world, is not 
equally manifest, the ancient memorials having perished. While 
Demetrius ruled the Alexandrian church, over which he is said 
to have presided until the year 230, a certain Arabian chieftain, 
(that is, as I suppose, the head and leader of a tribe of those 
Arabs who live in tents, and have no fixed and permanent resi- 
dence,) sent letters to this prelate, and to the prefect of Egypt, 
requesting that the celebrated Origen might be sent to him, to 
impart to°him and his people a knowledge of Christianity. Ori- 
gan, therefore, went among these Arabs ; and, having soon dis- 
patched the business of his mission, he returned to Alexandria.(0 
He undoubtedly took with him from Alexandria several 
Christian disciples and teachers, whom he left with that people, 
as he himself could not be long absent from Alexandria. 

(1) We have a brief narrative of these events in Eusebius, Hist. Eccles, 
lib. vi. c. xix: p. 221. 

§ II. Propagation of Christianity among the Goths. To the 

Goths, a most warlike and ferocious people, dwelling in Moesia 
and Thrace, the wars they waged with various success against 
the Komans, during almost the whole of this century, produced 
this advantage, that they became friendly to Christian truth. 
For, in their incursions into Asia they captured and carried 
away several Christian priests, the sanctity of whose lives and 
manners, together with their miracles and prodigies, so aflccted 
VOL. n. 2 



2 Century IIL—Sectlon 3. 

the minds of the barbarians, tliat tliey avowed a willingness to 
[p. 449.] follow Christ, and called in additional teachers to in- 
struct them.(') There is, indeed, much evidence that what is here 
stated, must be understood only of a i^art of this race, and that 
no small portion of them remained for a long time afterwards ad- 
dicted to the superstitions of their ancestors ; yet, as in the next 
century Thcophilus, a bishop of the Goths, was a subscriber to 
the decrees of the Nicene council, Q there can be little doubt that 
quite a large church was gathered among this people in a short 
space of time. 

(1) Sozomen, Hist. Ecclos. 1. ii. c. 6. Paulus Diaconns^liht. Miscellan. 1. x. 
c. 14. Philostorgius, Hist. Eccles. I. ii. c. v. p. 470. Philostorgius states, that 
tiic celebrated Ulphilas,who in the next century translated the Christian Scri})- 
tures into the language of the Goths, was descended from those captives that 
were carried away by the Goths from Cappadocia and Thrace, in the reign of 
Gallienus. This is not improbable ; and yet there are some other things in tho 
narrative of Philostorgius, which perhaps are false. 

(2) Socrates, Hist. Eccles. 1. ii. c. 41. 

§ III. Christianity in Gaul, Germany, and Scotland. In Gaul a 
few small congregations of Christians were established by Asiatic 
teachers, in the preceding century. But in this century, during 
the reign of Decius, seven holy men, namely, Biomjsms, Gatianus, 
Trophimus, Paulus, Saturninus, Martialis^ and Stremonius, emi- 
grated to this province, and, amidst various perils and hardships, 
established new churches at Paris, Tours, Aries, Narbonne, Tou- 
louse, Limoges, and in Auvergne ;(*) and their disciples, after- 
wards, gradually spread the knowledge of Divine truth over the 
whole of Gaul. With these seven men, some have associated 
others, but it is on authorities obscure and not to be relied on.Q 
To the same age is now ascribed, by men of erudition, who are 
more eager for truth than for vain glory, the origin of the 
churches of Cologne, Treves, Metz, and other places in Germany; 
although the old tradition is, that the founders of these churches, 
Eucharius, Valerius, Maternus, Clemens, and others, were sent 
forth by the apostles themselves, in the first century ; and there 
still are some who fondly adhere to these fables of their ances- 
tors.(^) And, it must be confessed, that those have the best of 
the argument, who thus correct the old opinion respecting the 
origin of the German churches. The Scots, also, say that their 



Christianity in Gaul, Germany, and Scotland. 3 

country was eiiliglitened with Christianity in this cen- [p. 450.] 
tury; which, although probable enough in itself considered, rests 
on proofs and arguments of no great force. 

(1) This we learn, in part, from the Aetji Martyrii Saturnini, in the Acta 
Martyrum Sincera of Ruinarl, pa. 109 ; and, in part, from Gref^ory of Toura, 
Historia Francor. 1. i. c. xxviii. p. 23, ed. Ruinart. The Frencli anciently re- 
ferred these seven persons, and the origin of tlie churches tliey founded, to the 
first century. In particular, Dionysius, wlio was tiie chief man of the seven, 
and tlie founder of the church at Paiis, and its first bishop, was for many ages 
believed to be Dionysias the Areopagite, mentioned in the 17th chapter of tlie 
Acts of the Apostles. But in the last century, men of the greatest erudition 
among the French did not hesitate to correct this error of their predecessors, 
and to assign Dionysius and liis associates to the third century and to the times 
of Decius. The tracts and discussions on this subject by Launoi, Sirmond, 
Petavius, Puteanus, Nic. Faber, and others, are well known. The ancient 
opinion, however, still remains so fixed in the minds of not a few, and especially 
among the monks of St. Denys, that it cannot be eradicated ; which is not at 
all surprising, since great numbers make the glory of their church to depend 
very much on its antiquity. But the arrival of these seven men in Gaul, is in- 
volved in much obscurity. For it does not sufficiently appear, whence they 
came, nor by whom they were sent. Gregory of Tours, Ilistoria Francor. 1. x. 
c. xxxi. p, 527, says : Gatianum a Romanaj sedis Papa transmissum esse : from 
which it is inferred, that the other six also came from Rome. The fact may 
be so, and it may be otherwise. It is equally uncertain whether they emigrated 
to Gaul together, and all at one time, or whether they went at diflTercnt times 
separately. And other points are involved in the like obscurity, I indeed sus- 
pect, that these devout and holy men, during the Decian persecution in Italy, 
and especially at Rome, voluntarily, and for the preservation of their lives, 
rather than by the direction and authority of the Romish bishop, removed to 
Gaul, where they could enjoy greater safety than at Rome and in Italy. 

(2) The people of Auxerre, for instance, commemorate one Peregrinus, who, 
as they think, came likewise from Rome in this century, and laid the foundar- 
tion of their church. See Le Beuf, Memoires pour I'Histoire d' Auxerre, tom. i. 
p. 1-12. There is also mention of one Genulphus, as an apostle of the Gauls, 
in this century. >See the Acta Sanctor. mensis Januar. tom. ii. p. 92. &-c. 
And others arc also mentioned by some writers. 

(3) What the French believed respecting those seven men, with none to 
gainsay them, the Germans also believed of Eucharius, Malernus, Cleinens, and 
others ; namely, that they were disciples of the apostles, and that in the [p. 451.] 
first century they established Christian churches in Germany, on this side 
the Rhine and in Lorraine, at Cologne, Treves, Metz, and in other cities, and 
governed the Churches they gathered, as their bishops. This opinion became 
suspicious to some learned men in the last century ; and in the present cen- 
tury, it has been boldly assailed by Augustine Cabnet, in a dissertation prefixed 
to his History of Lorraine, written in French, tom. i. in which he contends 



4 Century III. — Section 4. 

(p. vii.) that Eiicharlna and Matcrnus founded the Churches of Cologne and 
Treves, in the third century, and (p. xvii. xx.) that Clemens did not found Ihe 
church at Metz prior to tliat time. To this learned man stands opposed the 
commentator on the Acta S. Auctoris, in the Acta Sanctor. Antwerp, tom. iv 
mensis Augusti, p. 38. who not unlearnedly labors to sustain the ancient 
opinion. But the recent writer of the Historia Trevirensis Diplomatica, John 
Nic. ah Honlheim, a man of vast learning, after considering the whole subject 
with great care, aud weighing accurately the testimony, in a Dissertation de 
iEra Fundati Episcopatus Trevirensis, prefixed to the first volume of his his- 
torv, has fully shown, that more credit is due to Calmet than to his opponent. 
For, having maintained at great length, that those rely on witnesses not to be 
credited who carry back the founding of the church at Treves, and the other 
German churches, to the apostolic age, and make the holy men above men- 
tioned to have taught in the first century, he demonstrates (section vi. p. xxxii. 
&c.) by arguments the strongest possible in such a case, that Maiernus in par- 
ticular, did not live in the first century, nor in the second, but near the end of 
the third ; and as to the church of Cologne, that it is referable to the begin- 
ning of the fourth century. 

(4) The Scotch historians tell us, that their king, Donald I. embraced Chris- 
tianity, while Victor presided over the Romish church. See Sir Geo. MacKen- 
zie's Defence of the Royal Line of Scotland, ch. viii. p. 219. But, as the strong- 
est proof of their position is derived from coins of this Donald, never inspected 
by any one, there can be no doubt as to the credit they deserve. And yet it 
appears, for other reasons, adduced by Usher and Siillingjleet in their Antiquita- 
tes et Origines Ecclesiae Britannicae, that the Scotch church is not of later date 
than the third century. 

§ IV. Causes of the progress of Christianity. We give credence 

to the many and grave testimonies of tlie writers of tliose times, 
wlio cannot be suspected of either fraud or levity, that the success- 
ful progress of Christianity in this century was, in a great measure, 
attributable to divine interpositions, by various kinds of miracles, 
exciting the minds of the people, and moving them to abandon 
superstition.^) Neither can we easily either reject altogether, or 
[p. 452.] seriously ^question what we find testified by the best 
men of the times, that God did, by dreams and visions, excite 
not a few among the thoughtless and the enemies of Christianity, 
60 that they at once, and without solicitation, came forward and 
made a public profession of the Christian faith :(') and their ex- 
amples, without doubt, served to overcome the timidity, or the 
hesitation, or the indecision of many. And yet, I suppose, it 
will be no error to maintain, that causes merely human and 
ordinary, so operated on the minds of many as to lead them to 
embrace Christianity. For the earnest zeal of the Christians, to 



Persecution under Severus. S 

merit the good will of all men, even of tlieir enemies ; the uu- 
parallcled kindness to the poor, the afflicted, the indigent, to 
prisoners, and to the sick, Avhich was peculiar to the church ; the 
remarkable fortitude, gravity, and uprightness, which character- 
ized their teachers ; their unwearied assiduity in translating the 
Sacred Books into various languages, and publishing copies of 
them ; their amazing indiilerence to all human things, to evils 
and suiTerings, and even to death itself; — all these, and other 
equally distinguishing traits of character, may, very justly, have 
induced many to admire and to embrace the religion of Cliris- 
tians, which produced and sustained so great virtues. And if, as 
I would by no means deny, pious frauds found a place among 
the causes of the propagation of Christianity in this century, yet, 
they unquestionably held a very inferior position, and were em- 
ployed by only a few, and with very little, if any success. 

(1) Numerous testimonies of the ancients, respecting the miracles of this 
century, might easily be collected. See Origen, contra Celsum, 1. i. p. 5-7, and 
in various other places ; Cyprian, Epist. ad Donatum, i. p. 3, on which passage 
^Lesph. Baliize has collected many testimonies of like import, in his Notes there; 
Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. 1. vi. c. v. p. 208, &c. The reported miracles of Gre- 
gory of New Cesaria are well known; and yet there are some among them 
which may be justly called in question. See Ant. van Dale's Pref:ice to his 
work de Oraculis, p. 6. 

(2) The ancients record many instances of this kind. See Origen, contra 
Celsum, 1. i. p. 35 ; and Homil. in Lucae, vii. Opp. torn. ii. p. 216. TertuUian, de 
Anima, c. xiv. p. 348. Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. 1. vi. c. v. p. 208, &c. &c. Among 
these examples, there are some which may, I am aware, be explained by refer- 
ring them to natural causes; but there are others which demand a higher cause. 

§ Y. Persecution under Severus. This zeal of Christians [p. 453.] 
for extending and enlarging the church, was often much favored 
by the circumstances of the times. For, although they never en- 
joyed perfect security, the laws against them being not repealed, 
and the people frequently demanding their condemnation, yet, 
under some of the Roman emperors of this century, their enemies, 
in most of the provinces, seemed to be quiet, and to dread the 
perils to which a legal prosecution exposed them. Still, seasons 
of the severest trial frequently occurred, and emperors, gover- 
nors, and the people, disregarding the ancient edicts, came down 
as furiously upon the Christians as they would upon robbers : 
and these storms greatly impeded the work of extirpating the old 



6 Century III. — Section 5. 

superstitions. The commencement of this century was painfully 
adverse to the Christian cause. For, although Severus, the Roman 
emperor, was not personally hostile to Christians, yet, from the re- 
cords of that age, still extant, it appears that, in nearly all the pro- 
vinces, many Christians, either from the clamorous demands of the 
superstitious multitude, whom the priests excited, or by the au- 
thority of magistrates, who made the law of Trajan a cloak for 
their barbarity and injustice, were put to death in various forms 
of execution. To these evils, originating from various causes, the 
Christians themselves undoubtedly gave some impetus, by a prac- 
tice which had for some time prevailed among them, with the ap- 
probation of the bishops, that of purchasing life and safety by 
paying money to the magistrates.(') For the avaricious governors 
and magistrates would often assail the Christians, and direct some 
of the poorer ones to be put to death, in order to extort money 
from the more wealthy, and to enrich themselves with the trea- 
sures of the churches. 

(1)1 cannot regard this practice as one of the least of the causes of the fre- 
quent wars of the magistrates and men in power against Christians, contrary to 
the laws and the pleasure of the emperors. For what will not avarice venture 
to do? The Montanists strongly condemned this practice; and hence Terlvl- 
lian is vehement and copious in reprobating it; and, in his book de Fuga in Per- 
secutionibus, c. xii. p. 696, he says: Sicut fuga redemptio gratuita est; ita re- 

demptio nummaria fuga est. Pedibus statisti, curristl nummis. And then, 

after some bitter but unsound remarks, he proceeds: Tu pro Christiano pacis- 
[p. 454.] ceris cum delatore, vel milite, vel furunculo aliquo preeside, sub tunica 
et sinu, ut furtivo, quern coram toto mundo Christus emit, immo et manumisit. 
Who can wonder, that informers and accusers were never wanting, so long as 
the Christians, (as appears from this passage,) would pacify informers with 
money 1 Felices itaque pauperes (for these, being without money, were 
obliged to suffer,) quia illorum est regnum coelorum, qui animam solam in con- 
fiscato habent . . . Apostoli perse cutionibus agitati, quando se pecunia tractantes 
liberaverunt? quae illis utique non deerat ex praediorum pretiis ad pedes eo. 
rum depositis. But not only individual Christians consulted their safety in 
this way, but whole churches also compounded with the governors for peace, by 
pecuniary contributions, and paid a sort of annual tribute, not unlike that as- 
sessed on bawds and panders and other vile characters. It is not amiss, to 
transcribe here the indignant language of I'eriullian, c. xrn. p. 100.: Parum 
dcniquc est, si unus aut alius ita eruitur. Massaliter totae ecclesia) tributum 
sibi irrogaverunt. Nescio dolcndum, an erubescendum sit, cum in matricibus 
Bencficiariorum et Curiosorum, inter tabernarios et lanios, et fures balnearum» 
et aleones et lenonea, Christian! quoque vectigales continentur. Moreover, aa 



The Edict of Severiis. 7 

appears from Tcrtul!i:iM, the Christians sometimes bargained with those, who 
threatened to turn accusers if money was not given them, at other times with 
the governors themselves, and sometimes with tiie soldiers; which last deserves 
particular notice, because we learn from it, that the mngistrates directed tho 
soldiers to v/alch for, and break up, the assemblies of Christians: and therefore, 
these were to be pacified with money, in order that Christians might safely 
meet together for the worship of God. Says TertuUian : Sed quomodo coUi- 
gemus, inquis, quomodo Dominica solemnia celebrabimus? Utique, quomodo 
et Apostoli, fide, non pecunia tuti : quae fides si montera transferre potest, multo 
magis militem. Esto sapientia, non pracmio eautus. Neque enim stntim, 
(mark the expression,) et a populo eris tutus, si officia militaria redemeris. What 
the bishops thought of this practice, is abundantly shown by Peter of Alexan- 
dria, who was a martyr of this century. In his canons, extracted from his 
Discourse dePoenitentia, Canon xii. (inW/n. Beverege' s Piindectae canonumet 
concilior. Tom. ii. 20.) lie not only decides, that those are not to be censured 
who purchase safety with money, but are to be commended ; and he encoun- 
ters TertuUian with his own arguments. I will quote only the Latin, omitting 
the Greek : lis, qui pecuniam dederunt, ut omni ex parte ab omni malitia im- 
perturbati assent, crimen intendi non potest. Damnum enim et jacturam 
pecuniarum sustinuerunt, ne ipsi animae detrimento afficerentur, vel ipsain 
etiam proderent, quod alii propter turpe lucrum non fecerunt, &,c. 

§ VI. The Edict of Severus against conversions to [p. 455.] 

Christianity. These evils were greatly augmented, when the em- 
peror, in the year 203, for some cause not known, became some- 
what differently disposed towards the Christians, and issued an 
edict, forbidding .Roman citizens, under a severe penalty, from 
abandoning the religion of their fathers, and embracing 
Christianity. This law, although it opposed only the increase of 
the church, and affected only those recently converted, and those 
who Avished to join the Christians after the publication of the law, 
yet afforded occasion for the adversaries of Christians to perse- 
cute and harass them at their pleasure ; and especially because 
the ancient laws, and particularly that most vexatious one of 
Trajan, — that persons accused, and refusing to confess, might be 
put to death, — remained unrepealed, and in full force.(') Hence, 
so great was the slaughter among Christians, especially of such 
as could not, or, from conscientious motives, would not redeem 
their lives with money, that some of their teachers supposed the 
coming of Antichrist to draw near. Among others, many of the 
Alexandrian Christians lost their lives for Christ, of whom waa 
Leonidas, the father of Origen ; and in Africa, the celebrated 
Christian females, Perpetua and Felicitas, whose xicta, illustrious 



8 Century III. — Section 6. 

monuments of antiquity, have been often published ; and Pota- 
mienaj a virgin of Alexandria, and her mother, MarceUa, with 
various others. Respecting the termination of this persecution, 
the ancient writers are silent ; but, as it appears from reliable 
authorities, and especially from Tertullian, that the Christians 
were also persecuted in some places under Caracalla, the son of 
Severus, it seems to be judging correctly to suppose that the per- 
secution did not cease till after the death of Severus. 

(1) On the persecution of the Christians under Severus, Eusehius treats. 
Hist. Eecles. Ij. vi. cap. 1. &e, ; but only in a general way : for he neither re- 
ports the hiw, nor the time and cause of its enactment. Other Christian writers 
incidentally mention the severity of the persecution, the cruelty of the judges, 
and the constancy of certain Christians; yet they say very little of the mode 
and the grounds of the persecution. Spartian, however, the writer of the Life 
of Severn.'^, has told ns the year, and stated the reason, of the persecution : Vita 
Severi, c, 16, 17. in the Scriptorcs Histor. Augustae, p. 617, 618. For he says, 
that the erai>?ror, in the year that he invested his son Antoninus with the Toga 
[p. 456.] virilis, and designated him consul with himself, which was the tenth year 
of his reign, as he was passing through Palestine into Egypt, enacted a law equal- 
ly severe against the Jews and the Christians : Palaestinis jura plurima fundavit : 
Judaeos fieri sub gravi poena vetuit : Idem etiam de Christianis sanxit. This 
language shows, that Severus did not enact new laws against the Christians, 
nor command the extirpation of the professors of Christianity, but only resolved 
to prevent the increase of the churcli, and commanded those to be punished, 
who should forsake the religion of their fothers and embrace that of the Chris- 
tians. Persons, therefore, who were born Christians, or had become Christians 
before this law was enacted, might indeed be exposed to some trouble and dan- 
ger from the old laws, and especially from the noted rescript of Trajan, which 
subsequent enactments had not abrogated; but from this new law of Severus 
they had nothing to fear. But some learned men are not ready to believe this. 
For, perceiving what a multitude of Christians suffered death, under Severus. 
they say, the fact is not to be accounted for, if Severus wished evil to none but 
the deserters of their former religion. They therefore conjecture, either that 
Spartian has mutilated the law of Severus, and omitted a large part of it, or that 
the emperor issued other and severer laws against the Christians, which have not 
reached our times. But I can easily overthrow both these conjectures. That 
Spartian did not mutilate the law of Severus, his own words show. For he 
compares the edict against the Jews, with that against the Christians, and says 
that the latter was of the same tenor with the former. But Severus neither 
interdicted the Jewish religion, nor compelled those born of Jewish parents to 
embrace the religion of the Romans; but merely forbid accessions to the 
Jewish community from people of other nations. And therefore he was no 
more severe against the Christians, seeing his decree against them was precisely 
the same as against the Jews. That Severus enacted other laws against tho 



The Edict of Severus. 9 

Christians, than the one mentioned by Spartian, ia contrary to all probaLility. 
For, not to mention the silence of the ancient writers, it appears from explicit 
passages in Tertullian, that the emperor did not repeal those ancient laws which 
favored Christians ; which he undoubtedly would have done, if he intended they 
should be treated more severely than in former times. In his book, ad Scapii. 
lam, which was written after the death of Severus, in the reign of Antoninus 
Caracalla, Tertullian thus addresses that governor, (c. 4, p. 87.) : Quid cnim 
amplius tibi mandatur, quam nocentes confesses damnare, negantcs autem ad 
tormenta revocare? Videtis ergo quomodo ipsi vos contra mandata faciutis, ut 
confesses negare cogatis. This passage shows, most beautifully and admirably, 
how the emperors, and among them the recently deceased Severus, would have 
the judges deal with Christians. In the first place, sentence of death was to be 
passed in nocentes confessos. The nocentes here, are those " accused and con- 
victed in a regular course of law." This is put beyond controversy [p. 457.] 
by various passages in Tertullian, and also in this very passage, in which the 
nocentes negantes follow the nocentes confessos. Who could be a nocens negans, 
except the man who was accused of some crime or fault, and convicted by his 
accuser, and yet denied that he was guilty? We will, however, let Tertullian 
himself teach us, how to understand the expression. Among the examples 
which he shortly after adduces, of governors that favored the Christians, he 
extols one Pudens, in the following terms: Pudens etiam missum ad se Chris- 
tianum, in clogio, concussione ejus intellecta, dimisit, scisso eodem elogio, sine 
Accusatore negans se auditurum hominem, secundum Mandatum (ss. Imperaloris.) 
Under Severus, therefore, as is most manifest from these words, the law of 
Trajan remained in full force ; and it enjoined, that no Christian should be con- 
demned, unless he was legitimately accused and convicted. And, moreover, 
those accused and convicted, but who yet denied themselves to be Christians, — 
the nocentes negantes, might be put to the rack, and be compelled by torture to 
confess guilt. This was not expressly enjoined by Trajan, but it was in accord- 
ance with Roman law. But, thirdly, the laws did not permit the mngistrates, to 
urge confessing persons to a denial or a rejection of Christianity, by means of 
tortures. This was a liberty which the governors assumed contrary to the laws, 
as I suppose, and from motives of avarice. For when the confessors declared 
that they would not redeem life by paying money, the governors hoped, that if 
put to torture, tiiey would change their determination. That the laws of Ha- 
drian and Antoninus Pius, ordering that Christians should not be put to death 
imless convicted of some violation of the Roman laws, were in like manner not 
repealed by Severus, appears from another example of the governor Circius 
Severus, mentioned by the same Tertullian; Circius Severus Thysdri ipse dedit 
remedium, quomodo responderent Christiani ut dimitti possent. By cautious 
and circumspect answers to the judges, therefore. Christians could elude the 
malice of their accusers : and in what manner, it is easy to conjecture : viz. 
they confessed that they followed a dilTerent religion from the Roman, namely 
the Christian; but that the emperors forbid a Christian to be punished, unless ho 
was convicted of some crime, and they had never been guilty of any crime. 
With an upright judge, this plea was suflicicnt. And it is not only certain, that 



10 Century III,— Section G. 

Scverus did not abrogate the imperial edicts favorable to the Christians, but it 
also appears from Tortullian, that he constiintly and to the end of his life re- 
tained his former kind feelinj^s towards them. For Tertullian says of iiim, after 
his death: Sed et clarissimns feminas et clarissimos viros Severus sciens ejus 
sectae esse, non modo non laesit, verum et testimonio exornavit, et populo 
furonti in cos palam restitit. How could Severus have been a protector of 
Christians against popular rage, and also their eulogist, if he had enacted se- 
[p. 458.] verer laws against them, than the preceding emperors? It must 
therefore be certain, as Spartian has stated, that he ordered the punishment, 
not of all Ciiristians universally, but only of such as became Ciu-istians after the 
enactment of the law. 

But how was it, you may ask, that so great calamities fell on the Christians, 
in his reign, if Severus directed only the new converts to be punished ? An 
answer is easily given. In the^r^-^ place, let it be remembered, that the Chris- 
tians had been miserably persecuted in most of the Roman provinces, before 
the law of Severus existed. This we have shown in the history of the second 
century, from the Apologeticum of Tertullian ; and the fact cannot be denied. 
The avaricious governors finding the Christians willing to redeem their lives 
witli money, suborned accusers, and inflamed the people, in order to extort 
money ; and they actually put some confessors to death, to strike terror into 
the more wealthy, and make them willing to compound for their lives. In the 
next place, it is to be supposed, that Severus gave power to the governors to in- 
vestigate the case of such as forsook the Romish religion and embraced Chris- 
tianity; and, in these investigations, the magistrates and their minions, as is 
very common, did many things not warranted by the law- Thirdly, as the 
persons who forsook the religion of their fathers were to be punished, un- 
doubtedly the same penalties, or perhaps greater, awaited those who caused 
their apostacy. For he who instigates another to commit a crime, is more cul- 
pable than the transgressor. It was therefore a necessary consequence, that 
many of the Christian teachers were condemned. Lastly, those conversant in 
human affairs well know, that when new laws are enacted on any subject, the 
old laws relating to it acquire new life. It would therefore not be strange, if 
on Severus' prohibiting conversions to Christianity, the number of accusers 
should be suddenly increased. I say nothing of the probability, that the more 
unfriendly governors extended the prohibitions of the law, and summoned to 
their bar persons who became Christians before the law was enacted. 

What some of the learned maintain, respecting the cause of this edict, has 
little or no weight. The most probable conjecture is that of Henry Dodwell, 
in his Dissert. Cyprian. Diss. xi. § 42. p. 269. ; namely, that the emperor's 
victory over the Jews, who had disturbed the public tranquillity by a recent in- 
surrection, gai^e rise to this edict. That this Jewish insurrection induced 
Severus to prohibit Romans from becoming Jews, lest the augmentation of the 
resources of that people should prove injurious to the commonwealth, is be- 
yond all controversy. But Spartian couples the law against the Christians with 
that against the Jews, and tells us, that both were enacted at the same time: 
and we may reasonably suppose, therefore, that some ill-disposed persons sug- 



Caracalla and Ilcliogahalus. \\ 

gestod to the emperor, that there was equal danger from the Christians, and 
that if tiieir numbers and strength should become augmented, they might mako 
war upon the Romans who worsliipped the gods. This argument had great 
elK'ct upon the superstitious emperor. And there is little force in [p. 459.] 
what is o})posed to this supposition, by certain learned men, who, following 
TUlemonL (Memoircs pour I'Histoire de I'Eglise, tom.iii. P. I. p. 487.) say, it ap- 
pears from Jerome's Chronicon,thatthe war against the Jews occurred in iUa fifth 
year of Severus, but that the law was not enacted till his tenth year. For there 
might be various reasons for several years to intervene between the war and the 
promulgation of the law. Dodwell, however, and those who follow him, have 
erred in supposing that Severus did not distinguish between the Jews and the 
Christians, but confounded them together. For, not to mention, that Spartian's 
laiigunge is opposed to this idea, he distinctly stating that there were two laws, 
one against the Jews and the other against the Christians; Severus could not 
be 80 ignorant of the affairs of his own times, as to confound the Christians 
with the Jews. Tiiere were Christians in his own family ; and with some of 
them he lived in intimacy. 

§ VII. The state of Christians under Caracalla and Helio^abaliis. 

Severus, having died at York, in Britain, in the year 211, was 
succeeded by his son, Antoninus, surnamed Caracalla, who better 
deserved the title of tyrant than tliat of emperor. Yet, under 
him, the persecution which liis father had excited against the 
Christians, gradually subsided :(') and, during the six years of his 
reign, we do not learn that they endured any very great griev- 
ances. "Whether this is ascribable to his good will towards Chris- 
tians, or to other causes, docs not sufficiently appear.(") He being 
slain, after the short reign of Macrinus, who instigated the mur- 
der, the government of the Roman empire was assumed by Anto- 
ninus Elanahalus, a prince of the most abandoned character, and 
a monster of a man. Yet, he also, did nothino* ai>:ainst the Chris- 
tians.Q After a reign of three years and nine months, he was 
slain, with his mother, Julia, in a military tumult at Eome; and 
Alexander Severus, the son of Mammaea, whom Elagabalus had 
adopted, and had constituted Ciesar, was hailed emperor in the 
year 222, and proved to be a very mild and excellent prince. 

(1) We have a work of Tertullian addressed to Scapula, a most bitter 
enemy of the Christians, and written after the death of Severus, froii which it 
appears that the commencement of Caracalla's reign was sullied by the execu- 
tion of many Christians in Africa. 

(2) Some learned men think, Canicnlla h:id kind feelit-gs townrds Christians ; 
and in favor of tliis opinion they cite the authority of Tertnilian and [p. 4G0.] 



12 Century IIT.—Scction 7. 

Spartian. The former, in his work ad Scapulam, c. 4. p. 87, records, that Anto- 
ninus Caracalhi lade Christiano educatum fuisse, which, undoubtedly means, 
that he was nursed by a Christian mother. The latter, in his life of Caracalla, 
(in tlie Scriptures Hist. Augustae, torn. i. p. 707,) relates of him, that when 
seven years old, Quum collusorem suum puerum ob Judaicam religionem gra- 
vius verberatum audivissut, ncque patrem suum, neque patrem pueri, vel auc- 
tores verberum diu respexissc : that is, he was exceedingly ofiendcd at the 
injury done to his companion. From these two testimonies, learned men have 
supposed, that it may be inferred, the Christian mother of Caracalla instilled 
into him a love of her religion, along with her milk; and that this led 
him to 80 great indignation towards the persons who had punished his com- 
panion on account of his religion. They, moreover, do not hesitate to say, 
that by Judaica Religio in the passage from Spartian, should be understood the 
Chrislian religion ; because it is certain, that Christians were frequently con- 
founded with Jews by the Romans of those times. But to me, all this appears 
very uncertain. To begin with the last assumption, I cannot easily persuade 
myself, that Spartian meant Christianity when he wrote Jewjish religion ; for It 
appears from other passages in his book, that he was not ignorant of the wide 
ditference between the Jews and the Christians. And again, it was not a love 
of the religion, which his companion professed, but attachment to the person of 
his friend and play-fellow, that made him angry with those who punished him. 
Lastly, it is not easy to conceive, how a sucking child could be imbued by his 
mother with the love of ariT/ religion. The ancient Christians do not mention 
Caracalla among their patrons; and the tranquillity they enjoyed under him, 
was due perhaps to their money, which they would spend freely in times of 
trouble, more than to the friendship of this very cruel emperor. 

(3) There is a passage in the life of Heliogabalus by Lampridius, (c. 3. 
p. 796.) which seems to indicate, that this emperor, though one of the worst of 
men, was destitute of hatred to the Christians. It is this: Dicebat praiterea 
(Imperator) Judaeorum et Samaritanorum religiones et Christianam devotionem 
illuc (viz. Rome, where he would have no other god to be worshipped, besides 
Heliogabalus, or the sun, of which he was himself priest,) transferendam, ut 
omnium culturarum (i. e. all forms of divine worship,) secretum Heliogabali 
sacerdotium teneret. Although this passage is more obscure than I could 
wish, yet the following things can, I think, be learned from it. I. That Helio- 
gabalus wished to abolish all the deities worshipped by the Romans, and to 
substitute in their place one deity, the sun, of which he himself was priest. 
Nor was this very strange ; for among both the Greeks and the Romans, there 
were persons who supposed that all the Gods represented only the sun. H. 
That, on this taking place, he wished to have the Jewish, Christian, and Sama- 
ritan religions transferred also to Rome. And III. That his aim was, that the 
sacerdotium, that is, the priests of Heliogabalus or the sun, might learn the 
[p. 461.1 secret ceremonies, of all religions, and be able, perhaps, from theso 
ceremonies to improve and embellish the worship paid to the sun. Weliogaba- 
lus, therefore, did not wish to extirpate the Christian religion, but he would 
have Christians live at their ease in Rome itself, and worship God in their own 



Alexander Sever us. 13 

way, so that the priests of the sun, by intercourse with them, might learn tlieir 
most secret discipline. Such an emperor could have no thoughts of pcrsocut- 
ing the Christians. 

§ VIII. state of Christians under Alexander Severus. Under 
Alexander Severas, the Christians saw better times, than under 
any of the preceding emperors. The principal cause of thei;: 
peace and tranquillity, was Julia Mammcca^ the emperor's mother, 
who influenced and guided her son ; and, having the greatest re 
spect for Christianity, once invited Origen, the celebrated Chris • 
tian doctor, to visit the court, that she might profit by his in- 
structions and conversation.^) Yielding himself, therefore, 
wholly to the judgment and pleasure of his mother, Alexander 
not only adopted no measures adverse to the Christians, but he 
did not hesitate to show, by various tokens, his kind feelings to- 
wards them. And yet, if we examine carefully all the evidences 
of these his kind feelings, which history records, they do not ap- 
pear sufficient to prove, that he regarded Christianity as more 
true or more excellent than other religions. If I can rightly 
judge, Alexander was one of those who supposed, that but one 
God was worshipped by all the nations, under different names, 
in differing modes and forms, and with diversity of rites. This 
opinion, it is well known, was held by many of the philosophers 
of that age, and particularly by the Platonists. And, if so, he 
would think, that the Christian mode of worshipping God might 
be tolerated as well as the others ; and perhaps, also, he deemed 
it in some respects more consentaneous to reason than some of 
the others.^ ) Yet his estimate of Christianity was not sufficient 
to lead him to abrogate the old laws against Christians, if it was 
true, as it seems to be, that in his reign, Ulpian collected all the 
laws enacted against the Christians, so that the Koman judges 
might understand how they were to proceed against them. And 
hence, perhaps, we must not regard as fictitious, all the examples 
of martyrdom endured by Christians under him, in one place and 
another, of which we find mention. 

(1) All the modern Christian historians represent Julia Mammaea, tho 
mother of Alexander, as a convert to Christianity. See Joh. Rud. [p. 462.] 
Wetstein: Praifatio ad Origcnis Dialogum contra Marcionitas ; who thinks, with 
others of great authority and learning, that credit must be given to so numerouu 
testimonies. But the older historians, Easehius (Hist. Eccies. L. vi. c. 21. 



14 Century III.— Section 8. 

p. 223.) and Jerome., (C.-itnl. Scriptor. Ecclcs. c. 54.) speak dubiously. The 
former characterises Julia as ^eccre^iTTuTfl, and the latter styles her religiosa. 
And both tell us, that Origeu was invited by her to the court, which was then 
at Aniioch, and tiiat she heard him discourse on religion. But neither states, 
that she yielded to Origen's views, or that, abandoning superstition, she became 
a professed Christian. Neither are the two words, by which Eusebias and 
Jerome express her piety, of such import as clearly to imply her conversion ; 
for they are applied by the ancients, in general, to all persons, Christians or 
not Christians, who were solicitous for salvation, and reverenced a supreme 
Being. On the other hand, we find manifest indications, in the life of Julia, of 
real superstition, and of the worship of the false Roman gods. These and 
other considerations induce several excellent men to believe, that she continued 
an adherent to the religion of her ancestors. A fuller discussion of this sub- 
ject may be found in Fred. Spanheiyri's Diss, de Lucii Britonum Regis, Juliae 
Mammaea3 et Philiporum Conversionibus, c. 2. 0pp. torn. ii. p. 400. I will 
add a few things, corroborative, as I think, of this opinion. And first, Lam- 
pridius, in his life of Severus, c. 14. (Scriptores Hist. August, tom. i. p. 901,) 
styles lier Sa?icla Mulier, an expression corresponding with the epithets used 
by Jerome and Eusebius; yet no one supposes that Lampridius intended, by 
this language, to indicate that she embraced Christianity. Again, I deem it 
worthy of remark, that Eusebius states in the passage specified, that Origen 
did not remain long at Antioch with the empress, but (la-Tnvh) quickly returned 
home. If I am not deceived, this is evidence, that the avaricious Julia, who 
was very greedy of wealth, found no great satisfaction in the discourses of 
Origen, who was a despiser of wealth, and contented with poverty ; and there- 
fore, she soon sent back the austere teacher to Alexandria. There can be no 
doubt, however, that Julia was well disposed towards the Christians and their 
religion; and, though her manners differed widely from theirs, yet she felt re- 
spect for the Christian discipline, and for those who practised it. And hence it 
is not strange, that her son also, Alexander, should be very well disposed 
towards Christians. For both in his childhood and his manhood, as historians 
inform us, he was governed solely by her authority, and always considered her 
decisions perfectly right. Says Lampridius, (in Vita Severi, c. 14. p. 901.) : Quum 
puer ad imperium pervenisset, fecit cuncta cum matre, ut et ilia videretur pariter 
[p. 463.] impcrare, mulier sancta, sod avara et auri atque argenti cupida. And 
a little after, (c. 26. p. 924.) he says: In matrem Mamma^am unice plus fuit. 
The distinguishing kindness, therefore, of the emperor towards Christians, 
would seem to be attributable, not so much to his judgment and wisdom, as to 
his deference to his mother. 

(2) There are some who rank Alexander Severus himself among the Chris- 
tians. And though this opinion stands opposed by numerous proofs of the 
depraved superstition by which his life was deformed, yet a man of great learn- 
ing and worth, Paul Ernest Jablonski, not long since, found a way to solve tlie 
difficulty. In an ingenious dissertation, de Alexandro Severo Christianorum 
sacris per Gnosticos initiate, he endeavors to render it probable, that Alexander 
listened to some Gnostic teacher, and embraced that form of Christianity which 



Alexander Sevcrus. 15 

the Gnostics professed: but thnt he dissembled his real opinions before tljo 
people, wliich was :i tliing nllowiiblc amon^r Gnostics, and publicly worshipped 
the Roman Gods, but privately worshipped Christ, This dissertation of the 
learned Jablonski, is found in the Miscellaneis Lipsiensibus nuvis, oi' iha ex- 
cellent Fred. Otto MoickenXtom. iv. P. i. p. 66-94.) Tiie sole foundation of 
this opinion, (for all that is brought from Lampridius and others in support of 
it, falls to the ground without it,) is an ancient gem, published by James de 
Wilde, on which appears the well known Monogramm of Christ, together with 
this inscription : Sal. Don. Alex. Fil. Ma. Luce. These notes he would have us 
read and interpret thus : Salvs Donata Alexandro Filio Mammccae Lxice (ss. 
Christ], this name being expressed by the Monogramm.) Charles du Fresno 
had previously referred this gem to Alexander Severus, in his Diss, de Inferioris 
sevi Numismat. \ 24. contrary to the views of Gisbert Cuper, who (in his notes 
on Lactantius de Mortibus Persequutor. p. 239.) would refer it to some 
emperor's son of the name Alexius. Tobias Eckhard also, (in iiis Testimonia 
non Christianor. de Christo, p. 157.) professed to regard this gem as no con- 
temptible proof, that Alexander and his mother privately embraced Christianity. 
But it was the celebrated Jablonski who undertook formally to state and defend 
this opinion: and he finds Q II. p. 71.) in this gem, not a probable argument, 
(as Eckhard deemed it to be,) but certain and unanswerable proof, that Alex- 
ander was privately initiated a Christian. But this his certain and strongest 
possible proof, rests solely on the two letters Ma. which are subjoined to Alex. 
Fil. in the gem ; and which he thinks cannot possibly denote any other person 
than Mammaea. He says, (§ 11. p. 70.) : Sunt autem illse Littera3 indicio certis- 
simo, nullis machinis elidendo, Gemmam banc sculptam esse in honorem ct 
memoriam Alexandri Filii Mammaae. But, to tell the truth, I must [p. 464.] 
confess that I do not see what there is, that compels us to understand by tiiese 
letters no person but Mammcca. There were many names, as every one knows, 
both of males and females, which began with the two letters Ma. And if any 
person should insert one of these instead of Mammcea, I see not how he can 
be forced to give up his conjecture. If the word Imperalor, or the abbreviation 
Imp. had been prefixed to the name Alex, the person might feel some embar- 
rassment. But in the gem, as the learned author admits, there is notiiing that 
indicates imperatorial rank. 

Leaving the more full dijudication of this point to others, I will bring for- 
ward all the testimonies of the ancients concerning Alexander's friendship for 
the Christians, and will show that nothing more can be inferred from them, than 
that he deemed Christianity worthy of toleration, and its religious worship 
neither absurd nor injurious to the commonwealth; but that he by no means 
preferred Christianity to all other religions, or regarded it as more holy, more 
true, or more excellent. In the first place Lampridius, in his Life of the 
Emperor, (c. 22. p. 914.) says: Judaeis privilegia reservavit. Christianos esse 
passus est. From this, only a moderate degree of benevolence can be proved. 
The emperor favored the Jews, more than he did the Christians. For he re- 
stored to the former, the privileges of which they had been divested by pre- 
ceding emperors; while to the latter he granted no rights, but merely suspended 



16 Century III. — Section 8. 

the operation of the ancient laws against them; in other words, he made iia 
enactments a^rainst them. Yet he did not abrogate the old, unjust, and vexa- 
tious laws, as'xve shall presently see; so that the favor which he conferred on 
tlie Christians, though real, was yet but moderate. It is meritorious to sus- 
pend the operation of iniquitous laws; but far more so, to rescind and abolish 
them ; and most of all, to guaranty rights infringed upon by the former laws. 
But to proceed: this same Lampridius, (c. 29. p. 930.) tells us, that the 
emperor had an image of our Saviour, together with the likenesses of certain 
great men, placed in liis chamber for private worship, for he says : Matutinis 
horis in Larario suo, (in quo et divos et principes, sed optime electos et animaa 
Bani'tiores, in quels et ApoUoniiim, et quantum scriptor suorrum temporum dicit, 
Chriatum, Abraham et Orpheum, et hujuscemodi Deos habebat et rnajorum 
effigies,) rem divinam faciebat. A very learned dissertation was written, a few 
years ago, by the distinguished Charles Henry Zibich, and which the celebrated 
Mencken deservedly placed in the Nova Misc(illanea Lipsiens. (torn. iii. p. 42.) 
This learned man aims to prove, and, in my opinion, does successfully prove, 
that it cannot be inferred from this passage, that Alexander paid divine honors 
to our Saviour. All that appears from it, is, that Christ had a place assigned 
him by the emperor, among the animce sanctiores^ i. e. the men distinguished for 
sanctitv, piety, and wisdom; and that he was accounted not inferior to ApoUo- 
[p. 465.] nius, Abraham and Orpheus. But, not to be too strenuous, we will 
grant, that a degree of probability is attached to the opinion, that Lampridius 
intended to signify that a sort of worship v/as paid by the emperor to Jesus 
Christ: we will admit also the truth of the focts stated, although a strenuous 
disputant might call them in question, since Lampridius mentions only a single 
\vitness for them ; and lastly, we will admit, that the historian here gives to 
Christ the title of Deus, or " God ;" and that the words : El hvjuscemodi Deos 
habebat, are the correct and true reading, although many think they are not. 
Yet, after all these admissions, it will not be proved, that Alexander considered 
the Christian religion as better and more holy than the other religions. On 
the contrary, the language clearly shows, that the emperor placed Christianity 
among the plausible and allowable forms of religion, and that he coincided in 
opinion with those men of his age, who considered all religions as equal, differ- 
ing only in rites, regulations, and modes of worship. ■ For he coupled together 
the three chief personages of the three most distinguished religions of his times, 
the Gentile, the Christian, and the Jewish ; namely, Orpheus, (that great master 
of the mysteries and theology, and the eulogist of the gods.) and Abraham and 
Christ : and this shows, that he attributed the same dignity to each of those 
religions. Moreover, all those whom Alexander honored with a place in his 
principal Larariu7n, and esteemed as Divi, were not in his opinion holy persons, 
and patterns of virtue and wisdom. For, as Lampridius tells us, (c. 32. p. 936.) 
Consecraverat in Larario majore inter divos et optimos (etiam) Alexandrum 
Magnum. And yet he was far from denying, that in him were enormous vices, 
as well as virtues. Our author says (c. 30. p. 932.) : Condemnabat in Alexan- 
dro ebrietatem et crudelitatem in amicos. Of no more weight is the third thing, 
relative to Alexander's reverence for Christ, recorded by Lampridius, (c. 43. 



Alexander Severus. 17 

p. 993.) namely : Christo tcmpluin faecrc voliiit, euniquo inter divos rccipere. 
He would, therefore, only iisyign Cln-istiunity a place among the other religiona, 
and not recommend it to his people as the only religion that was true and 
worthy of God. This will appear more clearly from the grouiuls of his giving 
up the design : Sod prohibitus est ab iis, qui consulenles hucva, reporerant, 
omnes Christianos futures, si id optato evenisset, et tenipla rcliqua descrcndiu 
For this passsagc does not refer (as many have supposed) to the emperor 
Hadrian, who formed the same project, but to our Alexander. He was there- 
fore, not unwilling to have divine honors' pviid to Christ; but he would h.ive it 
60 done, that the Roman gods should not be neglected. And when he learned, 
that these gods would be despised, if Christ should be enrolled among them, 
he would rather have divine honors withheld from Christ, though w^orthy to re- 
ceive them, than see the gods neglected and despised. I can conceive how the 
emperor may have been led to think of enrolling Christ among the [p. 46G.] 
gods of tlie Romans. The old imperial laws against the Christians were an 
obstacleto his placing them beyond all danger of punishmentor injury, which his 
mother ardently desired ; and yet he was afraid to annul these laws precipitately, 
lest he should irritate the people and the priests. And therefore, to accomplish 
what he and his mother had at heart, he tried to get Christ admitted among the 
gods of the republic; because, if this were done, those old edicts against the 
Christians would of course foil to the ground, and yet would not be subverted 
by him, but by the Senate who sanctioned Christ's apotheosis. 

As for what Lampridius tells us ( ^ 45. p. 997.) of his copying the Christians' 
method of appointing public functionaries, though it was in some measure 
paying honor to the Christians, yet in aless degree than learned men suppose. The 
stjitement is: Ubi aliquos voluisset vel rectores provinciis dare, vel praepositos 

facere, vel procuratores, nomina eorum proponebat dicebatque grave esse, 

quum id Christiani et Judasi f^icerent in praedicandis sacerdotibus, qui ordinandi 
sunt, non fieri in provinciarum rectoribus, quibus et fortunae hominum commit- 
terentur et capita. Not to notice that the Christians are here associated with 
the Jews, the comparison which the emperor makes between Christian priests 
and the Roman governors of provinces, shows that, in his view, the functions of 
a Christian priest were less important and salutary, than the functions of magis- 
trates. For, in the language of the schools, he reasoned from the less to the 
greater. If such caution is exercised in the election of Christian priests, what 
caution should be exercised in appointing magistrates, to whom are entrusted 
the lives and fortunes of the citizens ? No man could talk thus, if he believed 
tliat the Christian priests showed men the way to salvation, and taught them 
the true method of obtaining peace with God. Such a man could not esteem 
the temporal life and prosperity of the citizens, as more important than the sal- 
vation of their souls, for which the Christian priests labored. 

Similar remarks are applicable to the judgment which Alexander is said to 
have passed, in a litigated case between some Christians and the hucksters ; in 
Lampridius, c. 49. p. 1003: Quum Christiani quemdam locum, qui fuerat pub- 
licus, occupassent, contra propinarii dicerent, sibi cum dcberi ; rescripsit, melius 
esse, ut quomodocunque illic Deus colatur, quam propuiariis dedutur. These 

VOL. IL 2 



18 Century IILScctian 9. 

words show a religious mind, and are somewliat commendatory of the Chris- 
tian religion ; lor the emperor admitted that the Christiana worshipped God ; 
and, on tliat account, the state could tolerate them. And yet he indicates, that 
the Roman mode of worshipping God was preferable to the Christian ; or, at 
least, the word Quomodocunqiie leaves it doubtful, whether the Christian modo 
of serving God was to be ai)proved or was faulty. Such language does not in- 
dicate a man who viewed Jesus Christ as tiie Son of God, and the only ( I will not 
Bay Saviour, hut) Instructor of the human race, and whose doctrines and precepts 
[p. 467.] were more just and holy than any others. What the same Lampridius 
tells us, (c. 51. p. 1007.) that Alexander was so much pleased with this precept, 
(which he had learned either from Jews or from Christians) Quod iibi fieri non 
vis, alter i ne feccris, that he ordered it to be inscribed on the palace and on the 
public works, has plainly no decisive force in the question before us. For the 
most virulent enemies of the Christians did not deny, that Christianity con- 
tained many beautiful and incomparable moral precepts. Nor does the state- 
ment of Eusehius, (Hist. Eccles. 1. vi. e. 28. p. 228.) that tie family of Alexan- 
der was full of Christians, much assist those who maintain, that he regarded 
Christianity as the best and holiest of all religions, notwithstanding he declined 
a public profession of it. For what wonder is it, if an eraperor, obsequious in 
everything to a mother who loved the Christians, suffered her to take Christians 
into her family ? One who placed all religions upon a level, and considered 
them as differing only as to forms or modes of worshipping the Deity, might 
consistently admit men of all religions to become his servants. 

(3) Lactantius says (Divinar. Instit. 1. v. c. 11. p. 627. ed Biinem.) : Nam 
et constitutiones sacrilegae et disputationes jurisperitorara (in Christianos) 
leguntur injustse. Domitius de officio proconsulis rescripta principum nefaria 
collegit, ut doceret, quibus poenis adfici oporteret eos, qui se cultores Dei confi- 
terentur. The most learned men have no hesitation in saying, that this Domi- 
tius, an enemy of Christians, was Domitius Ulpianus, whom Alexander entrusted 
with the chief administration of the state. See Francis Baldioin's Coram, ad. 
edicta Principum Roman, de Christianis, p. 101. &lc. ed. Gundling. This man, 
therefore, by collecting together the imperatorial laws against the Christians, 
may have aimed to moderate the benevolence of his master towards Christians, 
and to intercept in a measure the effects of his clemency. And of course, it is 
not beyond credibility, that under this mildest and best of emperors, the judges 
in several places governed their conduct towards Christians, by the laws which 
Ulpinn thus spread before them in a collated form, rather than by the wishes 
of an emperor who had not courage to repeal those laws. Certain it is, that 
in the Martyrologies and other books, we meet with not a few examples of 
Christians put to death under Alexander. See the Martyrologium Romanum, 
diem 11 mam Octob. et diem 22dam Novemb. Yet Theodore Ruinart, (Praef. 
ad Acta Martyr, sincera et Selecta, ^ 47. 48.) does not conceal the facts, that 
he regarded most of them as dubious. 

§ IX. The Persecution under Maximin. This tranquility of the 

Christians was disturbed by Maximin the Thracian, whom the 



Persecution under Maxlmin. 19 

soldiers created emperor, wlicn Alexander Severus was slain, in 
the year 285. Maximin was actuated, not so muck by [p. 468.] 
hatred of Christianity, as hj fear^ lest the Christians should sock 
to avenge the slaughter of their beloved Alexander ; and he 
therefore did not order all Christians promiscuously to be exe- 
cuted, but only the bishops and doctors ; hoping that when these 
were removed, the Christians, being deprived of their leaders 
and guides, would remain quiet and attempt nothing to his in- 
jur3^(') Perhaps also, the tyrant did not purpose the death of 
all Christian bishops, but only of those whom he had known to 
be the friends and intimates of Alexander. It is certain, that 
very few cases are recorded of bishops or doctors, who honored 
Christ by martyrdom, or by any severe sufferings, under this 
emperor.(") We know, indeed, that in some of the provinces, 
during this reign, the sufferings and calamities of the Christians 
were more extensive, and reached all classes ; but these exten- 
sive calamities are not to be traced to the emperor's edict, but 
either to insurrections of the populace, who regarded Christianity 
as the cause of their misfortunes, or to the injustice and cruelty 
of tlie governors. And hence, we readily agree with those who 
maintain, that the Christians were harrassed, in various places, 
during the whole three years reign of Maximin.i^) 

(1) Eusebius states, (Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 28. p. 225.) that Maximin, burn- 
ing with hatred to the family of Alexander Severus, which was filled with 
Christians, commenced a persecution against the Christians. But he adds, that 
the emperor ordered only the bishops (dpx°^'^^s tcjv UKKno-ibJv,) to be slain, as 
being the authors of evangelical insLrucLion {diriovc T>ic Kara YJuayyiXiov 
i'iS^a7Ka\ias). These statements are in conflict; if I am not greatly mistaken. 
If his hatred to the family of Alexander, had been the cause of this persecution, 
he would not have poured his wrath upon the bishops, who, none of them, be- 
longed to the family of Alexander, but must have attacked and slain the family 
of Alexander itself. This course would have gratified his passion; but the 
punishing of the bishops, brought no evil or detriment to the surviving ministers 
and servants of Alexander's household. This difficulty will be removed, if we 
understand the (xdTOf) anger or hatred, in Eusebius, to denote /ear combined with 
hatred: for those whom we dread or fear, we naturally hale. The tyrant was 
afraid, lest the family of the murdered emperor should conspire against iiim, and 
strive to avenge the death of their excellent lord ; and therefore, he pursued 
them with violent hatred. To free himself from this /ear, he resolved on the 
slaughter of the Christian bishops, hoping that when they were put out of 
the way, the adherents and servants of Alexander, being deprived of [p. 469.] 



20 Century IIL— Section 9. 

their iidvisors and guides, would attempt nothing very formidable against him. 
Undoubtedly, some one who professed to be acquainted with Christian aftairs 
had sug^a^sted to the emperor, that the Christians followed implicitly the 
guidance and will of their bishops; and therefore, that he would have nothing 
to fear, if these bishops were out of the way. Unless this explanation be ad- 
mitted, I see not how the slaughter of the Christian bishops could originate 
from hatred to the family of Alexander. 

(2) Although Eusebius says, that Maximin commanded all the Christian 
bishops and teachers to be put to death, I yet very much doubt, whether the 
tyrant's edict was so dreadfully cruel. I suspect, rather, that the emperor's 
enmity extended only to those Christian teachers, who had been intimate with 
Alexander and his mother, and whom the former knowingly permitted to instil 
the Christian ftiith into a large part of his family. The chief of tliese was 
Origcn, who was well known to have been invited to the court, not long before : 
and therefore him especially, the tyrant wished to have arrested and put to 
death. This we learn from Orosius, who says, (Histor. L. vii. c. 19. p. 509. ed. 
Havercamp.): Qui maxime propter christianam Alexandri et matris ejus Mum- 
ma3ae familiam, persequutionem in sacerdotes et clericos, id est, doctores, vel 
praecipuc propter Origenem presbyterum miserat. And it is well known, that 
in order to avoid the emperor's fury, Origen kept himself concealed at Caesarea 
for two years. Being unable to find him, the tyrant vented his indignation 
upon his two most intimate friends, Ambrose, a man of great distinction, and 
Protocteius a presbyter; who were first treated with great indignity and abuse, 
and then banished to Germany by order of the emperor. See Eusebius, Hist. 
Eccles. L, vi. c. 29. p. 229. Besides these, very few only, here and there one, 
of the Christian priests and bishops, suffered greatly under Maximin. Says 
Sulpiiius Severus, (Hist. Sacra, L. ii. c. 32. p. 247.) : Maximinus nonnuUarum 
ecclcsiarum Clericos vexavit. Now, whence this paucity of martyrs and con- 
fessors among the bishops and teachers, if the edict of Maximin commanded 
all Christian bishops every where, to be seized and put to death? Numerous 
examples of martyred clergymen under this very cruel emperor, would have 
come down to us, if the edict had ordered the bishops and teachers to be indis- 
criminately put to death. But all that is obscure in this matter, becomes clear 
and obvious, if we suppose that hatred or fear of the family of Alexander was, 
as ancient writers expressly state, the cause of this persecution of the Christian 
teachers: and this alone may lead us to conclude, that the emperor's rage 
was only against those priests, who had been intimate with Alexander and his 
fiimily. 

[p. 470] (3) Those who treat of the persecution under Maximin, trace all 
the evils of the church during his reign, to this edict of the emperor. But in this 
they certainly err. The emperor only wished to get rid of some of the bishops 
and teachers. And therefore, the proceedings against all classes of Christians, 
in one place and another, must be ascribed to other causes. And of this fact, 
those early writers who treat of these general persecutions, have not left us in 
ignorance. Origen tells us, (torn, xxviii. in Matth. in his 0pp. torn. i. p. 137, 
ed. Lat.) that earthquakes occurred in some places, and that the people, as usual, 



Gordian and Philip. 21 

attributed tlie cahimity to the Christians, and therefore inflicted great evils up- 
on them. Sec also liis Exhortatio ad Martyres, which he wrote in the reign of 
Maximin. Tlio same cause, and not the cruelty of Maximin, produced the suf- 
ferings of the Christians in Cappadocia and in the adjacent regions; which, 
liowever, were augmented by the injustice of Serenianus the governor. Thus 
FlrmiUian testifies, (in his Epistle to Cyprian, among the Epistlolae Cyprianicae, 
No. Ixxv. p. 146, ed Baluz.) : Ante viginta et duos fere annos, teraporibus post 
Alexandrum Imperatorem, multae, istic conflietationes et pressurae acciderunt, 
vel in commune omnibus hominibus, vel privatim Christianis; terrae etiam motua 
pUirimi et frequenter extitcrunt, ut et per Cappadociam et per Pontum multa 
Bubruerent, quaedam etiam civitates in profundum receptae dirupti soli hiatu 
devorarentur, ut ex hoc (not in consequence of the imperial edict.) persccutio 
quoque gravis adversum nos Christiani nominis fieret, quae post longam retro 
aetatis pacem repente oborta de inopinato et insueto malo ad turbandum populum 
nostrum terribilior effecta est. Serenianus tunc fuit in nostra provincia praeses, 
acerbus et dims persecutor. Hence, the Christians were not persecuted in all 
the Roman provinces, but only in those which had previously suffered greatly 
from these natural calamities. For thus Firmillian proceeds : In hac autem 
perturbatione constituti-; fidelibus, et hue atque illuc persecutionis metu fugien- 
tibus, et partrias suas relinquentibus, atque in alias partes regionum transeunti 
bus, (erat enim transeundi facultas, eo quod persecutio ilia non fer totum mun- 
dum, sed localis fuisset,) eraersit, &c. But, certainly, the persecution would have 
pervaded every part of the Roman world, if it had been commanded by an impera- 
torial edict. To express frankly my own views, I can hardly persuade myself 
that Maximin issued any decree against the Christian priests and bishops; but I 
suppose that, after the death of Alexander, he merely ordered the arrest of Origen 
and a few others, whom he knew to have been intimate with the murdered em- 
peror and his mother; and that, after a short time, other objects occupying his 
mind, and the state of things being changed, this sudden burst of passion subsided. 

§ X. The tranquillity under Gordian and Philip. Maxi- [p. 471.] 
mill being slain, by tlie African legions, in the year 238, Gordian^ a 
mere boy, was created emperor; and, by means of his father-in-law, 
Misitheus, a man of great energy, he so conducted the government 
for six years, as to place the Christians in perfect safety. But, 
being unable to prevent the murder of Misitheus by Phihp the 
Arabian, he was, the next year, himself slain by the same man, 
who had usurped the office of PrcCtorian Praifect. From tlie 
year 244 this M. Julius Philip^ with his son of the same name, 
as the Ciesar, governed the Roman empire for almost five years, 
and showed himself exceedingly friendly to the Christians. From 
this fact arose the report, which was propagated in the subsequent 
ages with great unanimity among tlio writers, that botli tlicso 
Philips privately renounced the superstition of the futile gods, 



oo Century III.— Section 10. 

and embraced Christianity. But wlictlicr tliis report states a fact, 
or only a vulgar fable, originating from the kindness of the em- 
perors towards Christians, has been disputed with great earnest- 
ness by the learned. Whoever will candidly and impartially 
weigh the arguments on both sides of the question, will see, that 
arguments are adduced by both parties, which, on examination, 
appear weak and powerless ; and that there is nothing to fully 
settle the point, and compel us to accede to either party in the 
dispute.(') 

(1) Tlierc are extant many very grave and learned discussions respect- 
inn- the renunciation of the old superstitions and reception of Christianity by 
the two Philips; some exclusively devoted to the subject, and others treating 
of it incidentally and cursorily. The most important of them are enumerated 
by Jo. Alb. Fabricius, (Lux salutaris Evangelii toti orbi exoriens, p. 235) 
But to his list, if it were necessary, large additions might easily be made of per- 
sons of high reputation, among both the ancients and the moderns. Oinitting 
a work of so little importance, we will recount the principal arguments on both 
sides, so that those desirous to understand the controversy, may obtain their 
object with but little labor. In the first place, the reader should be apprised, 
that arguments are adduced on both sides, which scarcely deserve to rank 
among slender conjectures. Such, for example, are those from certain coins, — 
from Origen's journey to Arabia, — from the austerity of the younger Philip, — 
from certain just and equitable laws of the elder Philip, and from other topics 
adduced in proof of the sincere regard of the Philips for Christ, but which are of 
no weight, and vanish when touched. Nor are those more solid which are de- 
[p. 472.] rived from the celebration of the secular games by Philip, — from the 
superstitious marks on coins bearing his likeness, — from the apotheosis of 
Philip, — and from some other topics, in proof that the emperors were averse 
from Christianity. We propose to bring forward only those arguments which 
seem worthy of some regard, and may have influence on sober minds. 

Among the arguments of those who wish to prove Philip a Christian, the 
first place is due to the testimony of Eusebius, (Hist. Eccles. 1. vi. e. 34. p. 232,) 
who reports from tradition : "That on the vigils of Easter, the emperor wished 
to be a participator with the rest of the people in the prayers of the church, but 
that the bishop would not permit him to be present, until he had made confes- 
sion of the enormous sins he had committed, and had taken his stand among 
the penitents : and that the emperor was not displeased, but conformed to the 
bisliop's wishes." Eusebius mentions neither the place where this occurred, nor 
the name of the bishop who ventured to exclude the emperor from the church. 
But from the narrative of Leontius, bishop of Antioch, (an ancient writer who 
lived in the time of Constantius,) preserved in the Chronicon Paschale, edited 
among the Byzantine Historians, by Carol du Fresne, it appears, that it was 
Babylas, bishop of Antioch, and afterwards a martyr under Decius, who as- 



Was Philip a Ckri^tlan ? 03 

sumod so iiiueli authority over tlie emperor. See the Ckronicon Paschale, thca. 
X. et xiii. ;ui juin. 1253. p. 270. Chnjsostom also, in liis Oralioti in honor of St. 
Babylas, (opp. toin. i. p. 658, 659, ed. German.) mentions this heroie act of the 
bishop, but without giving the name of the emperor. To this testimony of 
Eiisebius, learned men add his declaration in his Ckronicon, nd ann. 2-16. in the 
translation of Jerome: Philippus primus omnium ex Romanis Imperaloribus 
Chrislianus fait: with which Jerome himself agrees, in his Catalog. Scriplor. 
Ecc PS. cap. de Origcne. — To break down this chief bulwark of those who place 
Piiilip among the Christians, those of the contrary opinion exert themselves 
greatly: and Fred Spanheitn, (in his Dis. de Christianismo Philippi Arabis, ^ 11 
&c. 0pp. torn. ii. p. 418.) has carefully collected all the arguments, which can 
be thought of. Yet they all resolve tiiemselvcs into a few, if we carefully ex- 
amine the proh'x discussions of these great men. The amount is, that Eitsebius 
does not cite any specific and suitable testimony, in support of his narrative ; 
but says himself, that he learned what he states from common fame : his words 
are, Kart;^" ^«V°f » /ame has it : — that Leontius also drew his account merely 
front public rumor, handed down by tradition, xari ^iS'ix^v, per traditionem : — 
that Chnjsostom, in his statement, committed more than one error, and more- 
over, does not give the name of the emperor. But all these objections will not 
be sufficient proof, to discerning minds, that the conversion of Philip to Chris- 
tianity must have been a fable. For who would deem it conclusive reasonino-, 
to say : This or that is reported only by fame, and not in any book or author ; 
and therefore it is not true ? We know innumerable things, which [p. 473.] 
have come to us only through the medium of fame or continuous tradition, 
without being written down by the contemporary writers : and yet they may be 
perfectly true. And on the other hand, many things are false, for which the 
testimony of many ancient writers may be adduced. Fame is a reporter both 
of truth and falsehood. It is, therefore, not sufficient proof of the falsehood of 
a story, to show that the historians base it only on fame: Investigation is to be 
made, whether reliance should, or should not, be placed on this fame. Now 
the testimonies adduced, put it beyond controversy, that in the fourth and 
fifth centuries, over a great part of the Christian world, fame declared Philip to 
have been a convert to Christianity, In the thing itself, tliere is nothing absurd, 
or incredible. On the contrary, there are somethings to support it: among 
which, and not the least, is this: that what, in his History Eusehius states as 
derived from fame, in his Chronicon he states as being certain : and in this ho 
is followed by Jerome, as already shown. Consequently, unless the truth of 
this /awe can be overthrown by other and more potent arguments, there must be 
reason for doubting at least, whether this fame is to be credited or disbelieved. 
Another argument adduced by those who contend for Philip's conversion to 
Christianity, is drawn from the Epistles written by Origen to this emperor and 
to his consort Severa, mentioned by Eusehius, (Uht. Eccles. 1. vi. c. 36. j). 233.) 
To elude the force of this argument, the learned men who exclude Philip from 
the class of Christians, advance many things, which truly had better have been 
omitted. They, for example, question the genuineness of those epistles; they 
doubt whether Eusebius ever saw them, &,c. They remark, tiiat Eusehius imd 



24 Century IILSeciion 10. 

Jerome, who both speak of these epistles, do not in all respects agree ; for 
Eusehius says, Origen wrote to the emperor's spouse, and Jerome, that he wrote 
to the emperor's mother. But these are trivial objections, and easily answered 
by the opposite party. The case did not require so elaborate a discussion t 
for there is nothing in these epistles merely, which can materially aid the ad- 
vocates of Philip's Christianity, because neither Eusebius nor Jerome tells what 
was in them. No wise and careful man will ever reason thus: A certain Chris- 
tain teacher wrote a letter to this or that man, therefore the person written to 
was a Christian. For why may not a Christain write to one who is not a Chris- 
tian? A Christian may, by letter, exhort a person alienated from Christianity, 
to become a Christian. Or he may intreat him to be kind and indulgent to 
Christians ; or may address letters to him on other subjects. And, assuredly, 
if Eusebius had found in these epistles any clear proofs of the conversion of 
Philip and his mother to Christianity, he would not have omitted the notice of 
[p. 474.J so important a fact; neither would he, when just before treating of 
Philip's exclusion from the Christian worship by a bishop, have appealed solely 
to the authority of tradition. He would, doubtless, have said : " I have seen the 
epistles of Origen to Philip, from which I know with certainty, that he adhered 
to the Christian religion." 

Of no more weight is the third argument of those who make Philip a Chris- 
tian, derived from the Acta S. Ponlii ; (edited, with improvements, by Steph. 
Baluze, Miscellaneor. torn. ii. p. 493.) For, the advocates of the Romish 
church themselves dare not deny, that these Acta are of no authority, or at 
most, of very little; and that they state many things, respecting Pontius, the 
reputed instrument of Philip's conversion, and respecting Philfp himself, which 
no sober, intelligent man, acquainted with antiquity, will ever admit to be true. 
It is probable that this whole fiible was invented by some person who wished 
to add sti-ength and authority to the old story of Philip's being a Christian. 
Lastly, those who place Philip among Christians, adduce a host of witnesses 
from the sixth century downwards. For all the Greek and Latin historians, 
since that century, and among the Arabians, EiUijchius (in Annal. Eceles. 
Alexandr.) and Ahulpharaius (in Historia Dynastiarum,) with united voice, de- 
clare that Philip was a Christian. But those who deny that Philip was a Chris- 
tian, treat this great army with contempt, and pronounce them unworthy of re- 
gard ; because they all borrowed from the narrative of Eusebius, so that the 
whole story falls back upon him. And learned men say this, with some ap- 
pearance of truth. For many of those witnesses use the very words of Euse- 
bius in his Chronicon, and others depart very little from them. Yet it must be 
confessed, that some of them express themselves as if they had other authori- 
ties for their statement, besides Eusebius. — As to the various other arguments 
in favor of Philip's Christianity, derived from some of his coins, — from certain 
of his enactments, — and from the regard for Christ, exhibited by his wife 
Severa ; though deemed very weighty by some great men, they are too far- 
fetched to be arguments of any real force. We will therefore pass over to the 
other side, and examine the arguments of those who maintain that Philip was 
not a Christian. These also adduce many arguments, which may be easily con- 



Was Fhilij) a Christian? 05 

futcd. Wc will only notice those arguments, in which there appears a deforce 
of weight not to be contemned. 

In theirs/ place, they remind us of the f;\ct, that all the writers of impera- 
torial liistory are wholly silent, as to any conversion of Philip to the Christian 
faith. And they add, that many of the Christian writers, and Eusehius at the 
head of them, (in Vita Constantini Mag.) distinctly state, that ConsLanlinc the 
Great, was the first of all the emperors that embraced Christianity. But the 
dissidents are for from quailing before this argument. They say, that Philip 
did not profess Christianity, openly and publicly, but only in private [p. 475.] 
and secretly ; so that he publicly worshipped the gods, and dissembled his 
change of faith, while in private he attended the Christian worship. And henco 
the writers of Roman history, and also Julian, and some others, were ignorant 
of his renunciation of the old religions, ^nd they say, that the Christian 
authors, who declare Constaniine to be the first Christian emperor, are not to 
be understood as speaking absolutely, but only as representing Constaniine to 
be the first of all to profess Christ, openly, fully, and without disguise ; and, on 
that account, he was properly and deservedly called i\\Q first Christian emperor. 
This reply, it is difficult to divest entirely of all force; although it is not free 
from exceptions. It appears to me, that Eusehius himself affords it some sup- 
port, in his Life of Constantine, (L. IV. c. 74. p. 563.) where he speaks of Con- 
stantine as being the first of all the emperors up to that time, who openhj pro- 
fessed himself a Christian. 'E;Tt (xovui t^jv iruTTOTi Xi'""^"^^'^^ J'tafavwi diroS'ii^^^d-ci'Tt 
KovrrcLvrivcf). When he says that Constantine was the first who openly 
(S-ictf-xvCis) worshipped Christ, he seems to intimate, that there were others be- 
fore him, who (d<r;a?*vt3f) secretly and covertly professed Christ ; and thus he 
apparently explains the meaning of all those, who, with himself, had placed Con- 
stantine first among the Christian emperors. 

Secondly, the very flagitious life which Philip led, both before and after his 
access to his imperatorial power, is urged by learned men, in opposition to such 
as would account him a Christian. Although many go too fiir in explaining 
and amplifying this argument, and set down some things as flagitious, which 
deserve a milder and softer name ; yet it is beyond controversy, that very deep 
stains are found upon the life and conduct of this emperor. But I think, those 
change the question, who would infer, from the vices and crimes of Philip, 
that he disbelieved the Christian religion. The question is not, whether Philip 
was worthy of the name of Christian, and lived a life conformable to the pre- 
cepts of Christianity. If such were the question, the argument from his 
flagitious life, would be wholly unexceptionable. But the question is, whether 
he regarded the Christian religion as more excellent and true than the Roman, 
or, in other words, as divine. This he might do, and still lead a very wicked 
life. If all those are to be stricken from the list of Christians, whose morals 
and actions violate the precepts of Christianity, Constantine himself, can 
hardly, if at all, maintain his place among Christian emperors. 

Thirdly, learned men say, the secular games, celebrated by Philip with 
great pomp, in the thousandth year of the city, are opposed to the supposition 
that he had embraced Christianity. For these games originated in the supersti- 



26 Century III.— Section 11. 

tion of the old Romans, were sacred to the gods, and embraced rites that were 
[p. 476.] absurd and wholly incongruous with Christianity; and yet Philip 
omitted none of these sncrilegious ceremonies, he immolated victims to the gods, 
and exhibited the customary spectacles in the Campus Martins, in the circus, 
and in the theatre ; and of course, he sedulously performed all those acts, 
which it would be an abomination for a Christian to perform. I will not deny, 
that here is the strongest evidence that Philip was not such a Christian as he 
ought to have been, if indeed he was a Christian, at the time when he celebrated 
these games, of which there is doubt and uncertainty. Yet all these unbecom- 
ing acts might be done by a prince, who fully believed the truth of the Chris- 
tian religion, but was eager to give stability to his government, solicitous to 
please the Roman people, studious to conceal his real opinions respecting religion, 
and willing to give the name of prudence to this impious dissimulation. Men 
of such a character think many things to be allowable, which others, very 
justly, regard as criminal. And w^ho does not know, that the Christian emperor 
Honorius^ permitted the secular games to be celebrated at Rome, in the fourth 
century, with the omission of some of the most impious of the ceremonies? 

The fourth argument adduced by the learned, to disprove the Christianity 
of Philip, is derived from his coins, on which are found images of the gods, 
and other indications of the grossest superstition. This argument has already 
been impugned, by the remarks before made. And, not to repeat what has 
long since been urged by others, that we find not a few marks of the ancient su- 
perstition on coins of the acknowledged Christian emperors ; who can think it 
strange, that an emperor, solicitous to keep the people ignorant of his secret 
conversion to Christianity, should have suffered his coins to be struck in the 
ancient form of the state? Even if Philip had been truly pious, there would 
have been a very plausible excuse for his conduct; and the more so, in propor- 
tion to the certainty that conclusive evidence of a prince's religious creed, can- 
not always be deduced from his coins. It is also to be remembered, that many of 
these coins were not struck by his order, but by the colonies and free towns, 
in honor to him. 

Upon a deliberate and candid comparison of the arguments on both sides 
of the question, the religion of Philip appears to me to be one of those sub- 
jects, on which a controversy may be so maintained, that the victory shall ever 
remain dubious. All parties, however, must acknowledge the fact, that under 
him, the Christians enjoyed peace and prosperity, and that he gave many proofs 
of his marked kindness to them. And yet, just before his death, (as we learn 
from Eusebius, or rather, from Dionysius of Alexandria, as quoted by Eusehius, 
Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 41. et L. vii. c. 22.) there was a serious insurrection of 
the infuriated populace of Alexandria against the Christians. Such assaults 
were experienced under the mildest and best emperors. 

[p. 477.] § XL The Persecution under Decius, Philip, after 
reigning five years, was slain in the 3^ear 249, and was succeeded 
by Decius Trajanus, a prince, in many respects commendable, but 
superstitious, and immoderately attached to the old Eomish 



Tlie Decian Persecution. 07 

religion. lie, in tlic very beginning of his reign, cither from fear 
of the Christians, whom he knew to cherish the memory of 
Phihp, or from the promptings of superstition, (') issued tcrriljle 
edicts against the Christians, commanding the governors and 
magistrates, on pain of incurring themselves the severest animad- 
versions, to either wholly exterminate the Christians, or recover 
them to the service of the gods by tortures and the rack. From 
what is handed down to us respecting this persecution, it appears 
that it was conducted differently by those intrusted with its exe- 
cution; some proceeding more violently, and some more gently; 
and this seems to prove, that the emperor, only in general, 
ordered the Christian Avorship to be suppressed, and the Chris- 
tians forced to return to idolatry ; but left the mode of proceed- 
ing, and the kinds and degree of punishment, to the discretion of 
the governors. (") Yery many lost their lives during this perse- 
cution, in all parts of the Roman empire, and among them the 
distinguished bishops of the larger cities, as Fabian of Rome, 
Bahylas of Antioch, Alexander of Jerusalem, and many others. 
But, to the extreme grief of their pastors, vast numbers of Chris- 
tians, preferring the enjoyments of this life more than religion, 
procured for themselves safety, by sacrifices or incense presented 
to idol gods, or by the purchase of certificates that they were 
idolaters. And hence arose the reproachful titles of Sacrificati^ 
Thurificati^ and Lihellatici, denoting those guilty of these several 
forms of perfidy towards Christ. (^) 

(1) Eusehius (Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 39. p. 234.) says, that Decius apsailed 
the Christians, {jre^d? ^ixiTTTrcv t^^-ovg hinc/,) fro?n hafred fo Philip : but Gregory 
of Nyssa, (in Vita Greg. Thaumaturgi, 0pp. toin. iii. p. 567. 568.) says, that his 
attachment to the religion of his country, which was everywhere shorn of its 
dignity and respectability by Christianity, and the vast numbers adhering to it, 
alone induced this emperor to enter on a persecution of the Christians. These 
motives are not so incongruous, but that they might both coexist. Perhaps, 
however, it will not be rash to suppose, that the same motive influenced Decius 
as had before influenced Maximin; nameljs a fear lest the Christians [p. 478.] 
should seek to avenge the death of Philip, who had greatly patronised them, 
and by raising insurrections, endanger the new administration. I am the more 
inclined to favor this conjecture, because the violence of this persecution very 
quickly abated. For we learn from Cyprian, (Epist. 36. 37. 40.) that scarcely 
a year elapsed, before tranquillity was, in a great measure, again restored to the 
church. The emperor finding his power well established, and perceiving that 
the Christians made no disloyal attempts against him, silently abrogated the 



28 Century Ill.—Sectlon 11. 

edict, which his fears had dictated. Ilia impassioned cruelty would have been 
more permanent and abiding, if it had orio-jnatcd from hia superstition. 

(2) The tenor of Decius' edicts ag-ainst tlie Christians, can be learned only 
from some passages in the early writers who advert to them, and from the pro- 
ceeding of the masgistrates who executed them ; for the edicts themselves are 
lost. Bern. Medonius, indeed, published at Toulouse in 1 664, 4to. what he termed, 
Deed Aiigusti EdicUim contra Christianas, taken professedly from an ancient 
manuscript book. But Tillemont has shown, (Memoires pour servir a I'Hist. de 
I'Eglise, tom. iii. P. ii. p. 400.) that the document contains many things, which 
make its genuineness doubtful, although it contains much that agrees very well 
with the statements of the ancient writers. If I can judge, this edict was copied 
from the Acta of some Saint, and enlarged in some respects, and corrected in 
others, by the publisher, to make it agree better with the statements of the an- 
cients. And, undoubtedly, Medonius would have told us, to what book he was 
indebted for so great a treasure, if he himself had ventured to rely on its 
authority. — It is beyond all dispute, that this edict of Decius was more cruel and 
unjust than all that preceded it, and particularly, than the rescript of Trajan. 
Diofujsius of Alexandria, (apud Euseh. Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 41. p. 238.) pro- 
nounces it (ifuj2ipw'rctTCY) liorrihle or terrible : and he says, it was such, ut ipsi 
etiam electi, si fieri posset, scandalum paterentur ; and he adds, that all Christians, 
on hearing of it, were exceedingly terrified. It must, therefore, have threatened 
evils before unheard of, and have prescribed a new method of assault on Chris- 
tians, more formidable than any preceding it. Gregory of Nyssa, (in Vita 
Gregorii Thaumat. 0pp. tom. iii. p. 568.) states — 1. "That the emperor in his 
edict, commanded the governors and magistrates to bring back the Christians to 
the worship of the gods, by every species of punishment and terror." — 2. That 
he threatened the governors and magistrates with severe and signal penalties, if 
they were remiss and negligent in the execution of this his mandate. — 3. Hence, 
all the governors, in obedience to the mandate, neglecting all other business, 
immediately commenced torturing the Christians; and expounding to them the 
edict, they signified to them, that such of them as refused to renounce Chris- 
tianity, would be subjected to every species of punishment, and even to death^ 
[p. 479.] for such refusal.— 4. That various kinds of torture, before unheard 
of, were invented ; and the terrible instruments for lacerating and torturing 
their bodies, were exposed in public for all to behold.— 5. That all this pro- 
duced amazing terror, and universal commotion. — What we learn from other 
writers, Origen for instance, respecting the tenor and import of this horrid law, 
only confirm these statements in general, without adding any further light con- 
cerning them. Undoubtedly, the edict embraced all sorts of Christians, or 
those of every order, age, and sex ; for this appears from the examples of 
those who suffered at Alexandria, as narrated by Dionysiiis of Alexandria, 
(apud Euseb. Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 41. &c.) There is, however, a noticeable pas- 
sage in Cyprian, (Ep. 62. ad Antonianum, p. 69. ed. Baluz.) from which we 
learn, that Decius, (as Maximin before him had done,) wished to have the 
Christian priests and bishops made the principal subjects of the persecution ; 
and therefore, when Fabian, the Romish bishop, had been slain, he prevented 



The Dccian Persecution. 09 

tlie election of nnot'ncr bishop to fill his plucc. Ci/prlan aaya of Cornelius, 
the successor of Fnbian : Sedit iutrepidus Ronuc iu sacerdotali cathedra eo 
tempore, cum tyrannus infesius sacerdulibus Dei fanda atque Infanda comniina- 
retur, cum multo patientius et tolerabilius audiret levari adversus so lemulum 
principem, quam constitui Roma3 Dei sacerdotem. If we consider "the state- 
ments of Dionysius, (in the above-named passage of Ew^ebius,) those of 
Cyprian, (in his tract de Lapsis, and in various of his Epii^tles,) and those of 
some others, respecting the zeal of the governors and magistrates in cxcculiiirr 
the emperor's edict, there will appear a great diversily in the modes of proceed- 
ing and punishing. As Cyprian expressly states, (Epist. 7. 8. 15. 26. 37. 53.) 
Some cast the Christians who boldly confessed Christ, into prison : and, after 
some delay, such as utterly refused to submit, they sent into exile. Others 
subjected the Christians who confessed, to exquisite tortures, variously modi- 
fied and protracted for many days, and then remanded them almost lifeless to 
the jails, where they left them to languish out life. And hence at the death of 
Decius, many Christians were found lying in the prisons, and were set at liberty: 
of which number the celebrated Origen was the most distinguished, he having 
suffered exceedingly under Decius ; but he was restored to his liberty after the 
slaughter of Decius. See Eusebius, ("Hist. Eccles. L. vi. e. 39.) Others, first 
tried the effects of imprisonment in overcoming the resolution of Christians ; 
and then tried the eflicacy of tortures; and, these proving insufficient, they sen- 
tenced them to a capital punishment ; but not all in the same form. The more 
cruel doomed them to the flames, the more lenient ordered them to be de- 
capitated; and thus, some in one way, and others in another, they inflicted 
death on those they accounted pernicious and guilty citizens. Yet amid this 
variety in the mode of proceeding, there was still one constant aim. For we 
see, that they all tried, in various ways, to induce the Christians to renounce 
the profession of Christianity ; they all proceeded tardily and reluc- [p. 480.] 
tantly to the punishing with death ; and, lastly, they all pursued a more severe 
and rigorous course with the ministers, and especially with the bishops, than 
with others, and put them to death with less delay. What the mode of pro- 
ceeding was in Africa, may be learned, in some measure, from the tract of 
Cyprian de Lapsis, (in his opp. p. 182.) In the first place, the accused or sus- 
pected were allowed by the judge a certain number of days, during which they 
might consider and make up their minds, whether to profess Christ, or to deny 
him. Explorandcc Jidei prcc.finiehantur dies. During this period they remained 
at home and free ; and, as appears in the sequel, no one opposed their seeking 
safety by absconding. This was sufficiently humane. In Egypt, as we learn 
from an epistle of Dionysius, (apud Euscb. ubi sup.) immediately after accusa- 
tion, confession was extorted ; confeseion was followed by imprisonment, im- 
prisonment by torture, and torture by capital punishment ; and very often all 
these followed in rapid succession. Many of the Christians did not hesitate to 
avail themselves of the liberty granted them by the indulgence of the gover- 
nors, to take time for deliberation. But Cyprian was displeased with it, and 
enjoined upon his flock to decline the favor: Sed qui vSa3Culo renuntiasse mcmi- 
nit, nullum sajculi diem novit ; nee tempora terrena jam computat, qui ictcrnita- 



30 Century III— Section 11. 

teui de Deo sperat. Nemo, fratres dilectissimi, nemo hanc gloriam mutiJet, 
nemo ineorruptam atantium iirmitatem maligna obtreetatione debilitet. From 
the coiu'luding words of this exhortation, it would appear, that the more coura- 
geous among the African Christians would not avail themselves of the privi- 
lege offered by the governors, and were blamed for it by some, who, undoubt- 
edly, accused them of imprudence. After the time for deliberation had elapeed, 
those who remained silent, and would neither profess Christ nor deny him, 
were held by the judge to be confessed Christians : Cum dies negantibus pra3. 
stitutus .excessit, quisquis professus intra diem non est, Christianum se esse 
confessus est. Therefore, such of them as had not fled away, and could be 
found, were apprehended and thrown into prison. Bui many fled, before the 
time expired ; and these were publicly proscribed, and their goods confiscated. 
Says Cyprian : Primus victoria} titulus, gentilium manibus apprehensum Domi- 
num confiteri. Secundus ad gloriam gradus est, cauta secessione subtractum 
Domino reservari. Ilia publica, hasc privata confessio est. — Hie fortasse dilatua 
est, qui patrimonio derelicto, idcirco secessit, quia non erat negaturus. Cyprian 
himself fled, and suffered the penalty of flight, the loss of his property. Those 
whose constancy could not be overcome by imprisonment, were sometimes 
banished, with no additional punishment; sometimes they were put to the 
rack ; and frequently, when nothing would induce them to renounce Christ, 
they were subjected to capital punishment. 

To one who attentively considers what has now been stated, it will be evi- 
dent, that the persecution of the Christians by the mandate of Decius differed 
[p. 481.] from all the former persecutions ; and that the mode of proceeding in it, 
was not according to the first rescript of Trajan, nor according to the edicts of 
the succeeding emperors. The governors now possessed the amplest powers for 
inquisition, whereas before they had to wait for an accuser to appear; any one 
so disposed might act the accuser, without regard to legal forms; nor was there 
any danger attending accusations: public accusations of the people, which the 
former imperatorial laws forbid, were now admitted; as appears from the exam- 
ple of Cyprian; those who professed adherence to Christ, and refused to re- 
nounce their faith, were not ordered at once to execution, as the law of Trojan 
directed, but were exposed to severe tortures ; neither were all who withstood 
the force of torture, put to death ; but many were either kept in perpetual im- 
prisonment, or were sent into exile. It is easy, therefore, to conjecture what 
the edict of Decius, of the atrocity and cruelty of which the Christians so much 
complained, prescribed. The emperor did not order the Christians to be slaugh- 
tered : he did not absolutely command, that even those who could not be sub- 
dued by sufferings and torture, should be put to death : for, if he had commanded 
the capital punishment of all, whom torture and the rack could not bring to 
renounce Christ, the governors would not have dared to discharge many from 
the prisons alive ; and to shut up others who had been tortured, in places of con- 
finement ; and to grant to others a season for consideration, after they had with 
great constancy professed themselves Christians; as was sometimes done in 
Egypt, according to Dionysius as quoted by Eusebius. The emperor, therefore, 
must have charged the magistrates only, in general, to destroy the Christian 



The Dccian Persecution. 31 

religion ; to carofiilly search out all the professors of it, and to punish those who 
refused to worship the gods with all sorts of torture and sulVerin«,rs, until thoy 
would return to the religion of their fathers. Perhaps, however, he commanded 
that bishops and priests, on refusing compliance, should be at once put to death* 
in order to strike terror into others. He did not prescribe the mode of proceed- 
ing against those who, on being admonished, refused to renounce Christ, but 
left it to the judgment and discretion of the governors : and hence that diversity 
in the proceedings of the magistrates with Christians, some proceeding more 
mildly, and others more harshly. That many of the governors consigned to the 
sword or the flames, a large part of those whom the rack and the prison could 
not subdue, can by no means prove, that Decius commanded the execution of 
all the persevering. For the governors had power, without any mandate from 
the emperor, to put those to death, whom neither force nor fear, neither argu- 
ments nor persuasives, could induce to worship the gods; by virtue, not only of 
the law of Trajan, which threatened death to such as would not forsake Christ, 
but also by the common law of the empire, which declared all who should not 
obey the imperatorial edicts unworthy to live. — As to the rewards and honors 
which, I find some moderns say, were proffered to those who would apostatise 
from Christ, I do not discover a notice of them in any ancient writer. Perhaps 
some of the governors attempted to entice here and there an individual, [p. 482.] 
to whom they were favorably inclined, by this allurement; but that any empe- 
ror should have sought to secure the obedience of his subjects, by promises, 
persons of any acquaintance with Roman affairs will not easily believe. 

(3) All tlje persecutions sustained by the Christians in preceding times, had 
not produced so many deserters and apostates from divine truth, as this single 
short one under Decius. Persons of all ranks, and, what is especially remark- 
able, even bishops and priests, scarcely waited to be informed of the tyrant's 
threats, before they hastened to the tribunals of the governors and magistrates, 
and professed themselves ready to worship the gods and to disclaim Christ. 
This defection or fall of so many Christians, was deeply deplored by Cyprian, 
among others, in his eloquent treatise de Lapsis. This distinguished writer 
attributes the evil to the indulgent, luxurious, and degenerate course of life 
produced in Christians by the long continued peace, particularly under Alex- 
ander Severus and the two Philips; for only a very few, in certain provinces, 
experienced the hostility of Maximin. Freed from solicitude and caution, the 
Christians had relaxed much of their contempt of this life and its concerns, and 
had in many places contracted vicious habits. This must be believed, on the 
authority of a man perfectly acquainted with the state of Christians in his own 
times. And yet, I apprehend, there will be no mistake in assigning an addition- 
al cause, and supposing that the peculiar nature and form of the persecution 
instituted by Decius, induced more persons to violate their plighted faith to 
Christ, than ever before. Trajan decreed death to every avowed Christian 
who refused to forsake Christ, making no mention of tortures and racks : and 
much the same were the edicts of the other persecutors of the Christians : but 
Decius threatened, — not a capital punishment, but long and painful suflerings, 
to the despisers of the godsj and a lingering, protracted death, amid varied 



32 Centurij Ill—Section 11. 

successive tortures, to the more resolute professors of Christianity. And his 
governors executed iiis tlireats witii great exactitude: they ordered no one to 
be put to death, unless he was first subjected to numerous tortures, and ex- 
hausted and almost dead in consequence of his pains and horrid sufferings; and 
many also were tortured, until they actually expired. Some of the governors, 
in order to strike greater terror into Christians, ingeniously contrived new 
modes of torture, :ind exposed the instruments of the executioners, publicly, 
before the eyes of all. This was a far more efhcient way to destroy courage, 
and inspire dismay, than the punishments of the preceding times. Men who 
are not afraid to die, will look with horror on long continued writhing pains, 
and lacerations of the body ; and this horror will be increased by seeing many 
examples of sucii extreme cruelty and inhumanity. 

Among the lapsed during this bloody persecution, in addition to the Thuri- 
ficali and Sarificati, that i<, those who had presented incense before the images 
of the gods, or placed victims and sacrifices on their altars, we find notice of a 
new class of which there is no mention before this period, namely, the Libella- 
tici. Who these were, the learned are not agreed. In regard to this question, 
[p. 483.] the following particulars are true beyond all doubt; — First, that the 
term Libellaiicus was derived from Qibellus) the written 'paper, which those 
called Libellatici either presented to the judge, or received from him ; — Secondly, 
that these persons had redeemed their lives, and procured safety from the 
emperor's edict, by means of money. And this, as we have before seen, was 
neither a new thing, nor regarded as base and improper. By the disciples of 
Montanus, indeed, it was considered as impious to purchase life and safety with 
money ; but the rest of the Christians condemned this Montanist opinion : — 
and thirdly, this is certain, that the Libellatici did not renounce Christ, either in 
words or deeds ; that is, they neither payed worship and honor to the gods, nor 
concealed or dissembled their own religion. And yet they committed an act 
bearing some affinity with this crime, and one which, when carefully considered, 
might seem to be a tacit proof of a denial of Christ. — Lastly, that the Libellatici 
were the least criminal, or if you please, the best among the lapsed, and, with 
little trouble, obtained reconciliation with the church. The two following 
questions, however, have been especially debated : Whether the Libellatici 
were so denominated, from the (libelli) papers they^^are in, or from such as tiiey 
received ? and, What was the tenor or contents of these libelli, from which they 
derived their name ? This discussion is founded wholly on the interpretation 
of some rather obscure passages in Cyprian: for lie only makes distinct mention 
of the Libellatici ; notwithstanding there is good evidence, that such persona 
were found in other countries than Africa; for avarice reigns every where, and 
life is every where more valued than money. To recite the various opinions 
and conjectures of the learned, is not in accordance with my plans, nor would 
it be of much use. It will be more pleasant, and more profitable, to cite the 
passages of Cyprian, and give their true interpretation. In the first place, it is 
clear that those learned men have not duly considered the subject, who sup- 
pose the Libellatici were thus named on account of their (libelli) petitions 
presented to the governor or magistrate, requesting the judge, on the payment of 



The Lapsed. 33 

a certain sura of money, to spare the petitioner, and not demand of iiim a pub- 
lic renunciation of his religion. For, not to mention that it cannot be shown 
tliat such petitions to judges were allowed of, and that on the contrary, it 
appears from Cyprian, (as we shall soon see,) that the Libellatici appeared per- 
sonally, or by their agents, before the judge, and implored his clemency, not in 
writing, but by oral statements only; — I say, not to insist on this, although it 
is of great weight in this controversy, — the Christians, by presenting such pe- 
titions, would have been guilty of no offence. For, as already sliown, the laws 
of the church allowed Christians to petition the judge, either orally, or in 
writing, to spare them, and to offer him money as an inducement. A LibellaLi- 
cus, therefore, was a Christian who obtained from the magistrate, by some 
pecuniary consideration, a (libellus securitaLis) cerlijicate of security, in which it 
was stated, that he had complied with the emperor's edict, that is, had sacrificed 
to the gods, although in fact he had done no such thing, and had told tlie 
judge that his religion utterly forbid his doing it. On account of this certificate, 
which the Christian produced if occasion required it, he was publicly by the 
citizens regarded as a deserter from his religion, while in reality he [p. 484.] 
was no deserter of it. The judge practised deception, by giving the certificate; 
and the Christian practised deception by it, and suffered himself to be mistaken 
for an apostate. And herein properly consisted the offence of the Libellatici; 
for this tacit profession of perfidy, although it was mere simulation, seemed to 
differ but little from a real and open profession of it. This view of the subject 
is, for the most part, admitted by PrudenLius Maran, in his life of Cyprian, 
Q vi. p. liv. &c.) prefixed to the Baluzian edition of Cyprian's Works. Yet he 
rejects it in part; for he denies, that these certificates declared the holders of 
them to have complied with the emperor's edict: this, he thinks, would have 
been too gross a falsehood. He therefore supposes, that the judges entered 
upon the public records, that the persons holding certificates had sacrificed and 
renounced Christ, but they omitted this in the certificates. This worthy monk 
was not destitute of erudition, but he had little acquaintance with human affairs; 
and aiming to bring forth something new, he brought it forth; but under un- 
favorable auspices. Good sense forsook him. As to the (Ada) public records, 
in which he thinks it was written, that the holders of certificates or the Libel- 
latici, had offered sacrifices, I shall say nothing. He took this from a passage 
in Cyprian, misunderstood ; so that the fact of such a record, is not proved ; 
although it is not contrary to all probability. But when he maintains, that 
what was written in the book of Records, was not inserted in the certificates of 
safety, he forgets the demands of Decius' edict, which required the governors to 
extirpate the Christian religion, and to compel all Christians to oflier sacrifices 
and worship the gods. The governors, therefore, could not, unless they were 
willing to incur the penalties, with which, as before shown, the emperor's edict 
threatened them, grant safety, and certificates thereof, to any others besides 
those who had complied with the emperor's edict. And therefore, beyond con- 
troversy, it must have been stated in the certificate, that the liolder of it had 
done what the emperor required. Such a public testimonial was supposed to 
be written in good faith, although written in bad or deceptive faith ; and there- 
VOL. u. 4 



34 Century III.-^ Section 11. 

fore it exempted those who produced it, from all fear and danger. It may ber 
added, moreover, that Cijprian, (as we shall presently soe,) calls those certifi- 
cates, not only vnpious, but also cerlificales of idolalnj. (Epist. 68. p. 119.): 
Basilides et Martialis nefando idololatriae libello contaminati sunt. These cer- 
tificates could not have merited such epithets, if they had simply assured certain 
Christians of their safety, making no mention of their having paid honour ta 
the gods. What, I would ask, is a ceriificate of idolatry, (lihellus idololatriae,) 
but a certificate declaring the person an idolater, or asserting that he has wor- 
shipped the gods? — Lastly : if the fictitious crime of the Christian Libellatici had 
been entered on the records of the court, but not mentioned in the certificates, 
the holders of the certificates could not have made that use of them, which they 
especially desired to do, before other judges; because these judges might de- 
mand of them, to commit in their presence the act, of which there was no 
mention made in the certificate. 

Let us now turn to the principal passages in Cyprian, relative to the LibeU 
[p. 485.] latici, and see w^hether they accord with what has been stated. Tho 
most noted of all the passages is in his Epistle to Antonianus (Epist. 52. p. 
70.) : Cum ergo inter ipsos, qui sacrificaverunt, multa sit diversitas, qua) incle- 
mentia est et quam acerba duritia, Libellaticos cum iis, qui sacrificaverunt, jun- 
gere, quando is, cui libellus acceptus est, dicat : Ego prius legeram et episcopo 
traetante cognoveram non sacrificandum idolia, nee simulacra servum Dei ado- 
rare debere, et ideirco ne hoc facerem, quod non licebat, cum occasio libelli 
fuissel oblata, quern nee ipsum acciperem, nisi ostensa fuissct occasio, ad magis- 
tratum vel veni, vel alio eunte mandavi, Christianura me esse, sacrifieare mihi 
non liccre, ad aras diaboli me venire non posse, dare me ob hoc prajmium, ne 
quod non licet faciam. Nunc tamen etiam iste, qui libello maculatus est, pos- 
tcaquam, nobis admonentibus, didicit, nee hoc se facere debuisse, etsi manus 
pura sit, et os ejus feralis cibi nulla contagia polluerint, conscientiam tamen ejus 
esse pollutara flet, auditis nobis, et lamentatur. From this extract the following 
things are manifest : — 1. The Libellatici had paid no worship to the gods, they 
had not even touched meats offered to the gods, and consequently they were 
far more innocent than the Sacrificati. — 2. They procured certificates, lest pos- 
sibly, if arraigned before the tribunals, they might commit these crimes through 
dread of torture. — 3. Not at their own solicitation, but at the suggestion of 
others, the judges asked them to order certificates to be written for them ; or, 
as Cyprian expresses it, while they were not contemplating such a thing, an 
occasion was offered them for petitioning for a certificate. That is, the avaricious 
magistrates perceiving a prosperous, wealthy person among the Christians, sig- 
nified to him, privately, through their satellites or friends, that his safety might 
be secured, and exemption from suffering purchased, with a moderate sum of 
money; thus proffering him the clemency of the judges.— 4. The Libellatici did 
not present written petitions to the magistrate, but went to the judge, either 
personally or by some friend, and orally made known their wishes, presenting, 
at the same time, the price of the favor asked for. Cyprian reports the lan- 
guage they used. This method of proceeding was necessary to the magistrate's 
safety. If they had allowed written petitions to be presented by those who 



The Lapsed. 35 

wished to obtain certificates of safety without sacrifK'ing, the very petilions 
mi""lit lead to the easy detection of the fraud. Tiiose coiiveryant with tiie pro- 
ceedings of men, well know that such transactions being derogatory to the law, 
and counteracting the designs of the sovereign power, are never done in writing, 
but ahvajs orally. This leads me to wonder the more at those who conceive, 
that the Libellatici were so called from tlie Qibelli) written •petitions which they 
presented. — 5. Some of these Libellatici applied personally to the judges, while 
others signified their wishes through tlie medium of friends. For some sup- 
posed they would be less criminal, if they did not themselves attempt to bribe 
the judge, but employed others to do it. Some, again, I suspect, were afraid to 
appear personally, lest the judges, on their professing themselves Christians, 
should at once seize them, and cast them into prison ; and, therefore, they cm- 
ployed some worshipper of idols, who had nothing to fear, to present [p. 48G.] 
the request, pay the money, and receive the certificate in their name. — 6. It ia 
manifest that the Libellatici received a writing from the judge whom they had 
bribed ; for Cyprian twice mentions the (Hbellus acceplus) writing or certificate 
received. And this writing or certificate protected them against all prosecutions, 
or attempts to compel them to worship the gods. 

Another passage, in an Epistle of the Roman Clergy to Cyprian, (inter Cy- 
priani Epistolas, Ep. 31. Opp. p. 42.) is not quite so lucid, and yet sufficiently 
so to confirm the preceding statements : Superioribus litteris nostris (a letter 
not now extant.) vobis sententiam nostram dilucida expositionc protulimus, et 
adversus eos, qui seipsos infideles illicita nefariorum libellorum professione pro- 
diderant, quasi evasuri irretientes illos diaboli laqueos viderentur, quo non 
minus quani si ad nefarias aras accessissent, hoe ipso quod ipsum contestati 
fucrant, tenerentur, sed etiain adversus illos, qui acta fecissent, licet priesentes 
quum fierent, non affuisscnt, quum prsesentiam suam utique ut sic scriberentur 
mandando fecissent. Non est enim immunis a scelere qui ut fieret imperavit: 
nee est alicnus a crimine, cnjus consensu, licet non a se admissum crimen, ta- 
men publice legitur, et cum totum fidei sacramentum in confessione Christ! 
nominis intelligatur esse digestum, qui fallaces in excusatione prcestigias qua3rit, 
negavit, et qui vult videri propositis adversus Evangelium vel edictis vcl legibua 
satisfecisse, hoc ipso jam paruit quod videri se paruisse voluit. — From these 
words of the Roman clergy we may learn: — 1. That the Libellatici were ac- 
customed libellos nefarias profiler^ in presence of the judge ; and by such 
professione se ipsos infideles prodere. What is here meant by libellum profiterif 
the writers of the Epistle presently show ; it is, io direct or require that some- 
thing be written., or that a Hbellus be drawn up. This will be perfectly manifest, 
to one comparing the expression with what follows it. Those therefore greatly 
err, who make profiteri libellum here to be equivalent to offerre judici libellum. 
It is rather, to profess to the judge, that they stand ready to receive a libellum 
at a certain price, or to request one from the judge, tendering him money 
2. What was written in the certificate thus asked for, is clearly indicated in tlie 
following words: ciijus Consensu, licet non a se admissum crimen, publice legitur. 
The person then who solicited a certificate, consented, that a crime, which he had 
never committed, sliould be piiblicly imputed to him. The crime referred to, was, 



36 Century III.— Section 11. 

undoubtedly, that of sacrificing. It is tlicrcfore certain, that the certificates 
stated that such and such persons had sacrificed to the gods. And tliis, more- 
over, is confirmed by the following words: Videri viilt propositis adversus 
Evatigelium vet ediclis vel legihus salisfecisse ; paruit, quia paruisse videri 
voluit. Consequently, the governor testified in Ms certificate that Caius or 
Seius had complied with and satisfied the emperor's edict ; and he who {pro- 
fUebatur) declared his willingness to receive the certificate, consented that the 
judge should so state concerning him, although the stateaient was false. The 
[p. 487.] words publice legitur may lead some to conjecture, that the certificates 
thus granted were posted up publicly in the Praetorium, so that all might read 
them. And perhaps they were so ; but it is not necessary to put this construc- 
tion on the words. For any thing may be said {publice legi) to be publicly read, 
which is frequently read in public, which is shown and must be shown, to all 
who ask to see it ; and therefore is liable to be read by every one. Maran, who 
thought it evident from this expression, that the fictitious criminal act was not 
stated in the certificate, but only recorded on the court records, did rot recol- 
lect, that these court records w-ere not read publicly, nor could all have access 
to read them. Moreover, the language here used shows most conclusively, that 
it must be understood of written papers received from the judge, and not of 
papers presented to him. For how could a Libellaticus, in a paper of his own, 
confess a crime which he had not committed? How could he aflirm that he had 
complied with the emperor's edict? — 3. Hence it is clear what the Roman 
priests mean, when they say that the exhibitors of these certificates proclaimed 
themselves unbelievers. For when a man professes before a judge, that he is 
willing to have a crime publicly attributed to him, which, how^ever, he would 
shudder to commit, he betrays his infidelity ; that is, he makes it known, that he 
will not publicly profess Christ, and that he is unconcerned, if the public should 
regard him as an apostate. — 4. These things being kept in sight, it w^ill not be 
difficult to apprehend the meaning of the Roman Clergy, when they say : Libel- 
laticos irretientes diaboli laqueos evaders telle, at non minus teneri, quam si ad 
nefarias aras accessissent, quod hoc ipsum contestati fuerant. The Laquei Diaboli, 
which might irretire, or lead men to forsake Christ, were imprisonment, the 
Tack, and the tortures wherewith the governors, by command of Decius, s'ought 
to bring Christians to a renunciation of Christ. And the Libellatici, although 
they had not gone to the forbidden altars, nor offered sacrifice to the gods, yet 
were equally guilty, in the view of the Roman priests, because they had attest- 
ed to (hoc ipsum) this very thing, namely, their going to the altars and offering 
Baorifice. They had not indeed themselves attested to this ; but, with their 
consent, the judge had attested it; and he who approves the act of another, by 
consenting to it, is justly considered as a cause and author of it; and one who 
authorises another to charge him publicly with a crime, in a sense charges it 
upon himself. — 5. What we learned from the former passage, is also manifest 
from this, namely, that the Libcllnticl did not present Qibellos) written requests 
to the judge, but either went to him themselves, or sent their authorised agents 
to solicit from him a (libellus) uyritten certificate. Prudentius Maran fancies that 
the words Acta fecissent, here indicate the {Acta Judicii) Records of the Court; 



The Lapsed. 37 

a most unhappy conceit : as if truly, entries on the court records raitrht bo 
made by the petitioners to the court ; that was the business of the public nota- 
ries. In this place, Ada facere is the same with Uhellum prnfueri: for the 
Roman clergy are here speaking of those (Acta) acts, which were unavoidable, bv 
such Christians as would secure their safety by means of a (libellus) certificate. 
We subjoin a third passage from the tract of Cyprian (de Lapsis, [p. 488.1 
c. 27. p. 190.) : Nee sibi quo minus agant pocnitentiam blandiantur, qui etsi 
nefandis sacrificiis manus non contaminaverunt, Ubellis tamen conscientiara 
pollucrunt. Et ilia professio denegantis contestatio est Christian! quod fucrat 
abnuentis. The learned hesitate in regard to the meaning of this passao-e; 
because it is concise and rather obscure ; and yet, by proper attention, we 
may easily discover its import. The Professio denegantis is, the Professio Ubelli 
of a Christian, who denies before the judge, that he can or will offer sacrifice. 
This will appear, if we compare the first passage above cited with the one be- 
fore us. This Professio Ubelli is the Contestatio or testimony of a Christian, 
abnuentis id, quodfuerat, i. e. denying that he is any longer a Ciiristian, which 
he before was. For, he who permits it to be stated, (in libello) in the certifi- 
cate, that he has offered sacrifice, virtually denies that he is a Christian, by 
allowing the title and glory of a Christian to be taken from him. Fecisse se dixit 
(namely, by the judge, who wrote as he desired,) quicquid almafaciendo commisit. 
Cumque scriptum sit; non potestis duobus Dominis servire, servivit gaeculari 
Domino qui obtemperavit ejus cdicto (i. e. the person who consented to have it 
written, that he had obeyed the Deeian edict,) magis obaudivit humano imperio, 
quam Deo. Viderit an minore vel dedecore vel crimine apud homines publica- 
verit, quod admisit. Deum tamen Judicem fugere et vitare non poterit. To 
avoid prolixity, I will not continue the explication of this passage, notwithstand- 
ing it is ill understood by many ; for it contributes but little to elucidate the 
subject under consideration. —Among the other passages in Cyprian relative to 
the Libellalici and their certificates, there are none which throw additional light 
on the subject, or add weight to the arguments already adduced, except a pas- 
sage in his Epistle to Fortunatus, (de Exhortatione Martyrii, c. 11. p. 271.) 
where he cites the example of Eleazur, in 2 Maccab. 6. to rebuke the crime of 
the LibellaticL He says: Ac nequis vel Ubelli vel alicujus rei oblata sibi occa- 
sione qua fallat amplectatur decipientium malum nmnus, nee Eleazarus tacen- 
dus est, qui cum sibi a ministris regis offerretur facultas, ut accepta carne qua 
liceret sibi vesci ad circumveniendum Regem simularet se ilia cdere, quae de 
sacrificiis ingerebantur, consentire ad banc fallaciam noluit, dicens, nee atati 
suae, nee nobilitati convenire,id fingere, quo ceteri scandalizerentur et in errorem 
inducerentur, existimantes Eleazarum ad alienigenarum morem transiisse. A cur- 
sory reading of this passage will show, that the Libellatici practised an imposi- 
tion upon the emperor, and feigned obedience to him ; and also, that they were 
invited to do this by others ; for Cyprian says, they embraced the opportunity 
proffered to them. It is likewise evident that they did not present the (llbcllinn) 
written paper to the judge, but received it from him; for Cyprian calls these 
(libellos) written papers //m/wm mnnvs ; which single expression is nearly a 
sufficient confutation of the false opinions and conjectures of many. For a 



88 Century IIL^Sectioii 12. 

[p. 489.] munus is something received ; and a inalum munus is, undoubtedly, 
a gift that is injurious to the receiver. There must, therefore, have been some- 
thing written in the (libellus) certificate, which might bring reproacli and crimi- 
naliiy on the Libellaticus. 

This whole subject might liave been more clear and easy to be understood, 
if the edict of Decius had come down to us. For, as there is no mention 
whatever of such {libelU) certificates, by any writer who lived anterior to the 
times of this edict, although we know that, before that period, Christians pur- 
chased to themselves safety by money and presents, it seems that this w^hole 
matter originated from the severe law of this emperor. He, if I am not mis- 
taken, not only required all the Christians that could be found, to be seized, 
and by tortures compelled to pay homage to the gods; but also, lest some 
might evade the law, and falsely pretend to have sacrificed, he ordered the 
iudges to give a libellum, or public testimonial, that the thing had been actually 
done, according to the emperor's requisition. A man, therefore, destitute of a 
libeUuSy or testimonial from the judge, was liable to be accused of disobeying 
the law and being a rebel ; but the man who could produce his libellus, was 
free from all danger. This idea, in my opinion, throws much light on the 
hitherto incomprehensible cause for these libelU. To all Christians who would 
be safe from molestation, the libellus or testimonial of the judge, that he had 
sacrificed, was indispensable. Vast numbers procured a libellus by actually 
doing what the emperor required: others, too conscientious to follow their ex- 
ample, and not knowing what to do, remained trembling at theh- homes. And 
to these timid and hesitating persons the money-loving judges caused it to be 
secretly intimated by their retainers, tliat there was a wny to obtain a libellus, 
without sacrificing ; that the judges would give the testimonies required by the 
imperiLorial edict, to persons who would not sacrifice, provided they would 
show due gratitude to their benefactors. 

§ XII. Contests respecting the Lapsed. This great multitude of 
apo-states caused a large portion of the Christian community to 
be thrown into commotion ; and here and there it produced in- 
veterate contests. For while those persons wished to be rein- 
stated in the church, without undergoing the long penances pre- 
scribed by the ecclesiastical laws ; and some of the doctors, from 
a pjopensity towards lenity, favored that course ; and others of a 
sterner mould, and more rigidly adhering to the ancient discip- 
line, resisted it; parties very naturally arose among the Christians. 
Very many of the lapsed, especially in Egypt and Africa,(') in 
order to obtain more readily a reconciliation with their bishops 
and churches, employed the martyrs to intercede for them. For 
as the reputation and influence of martyrs and confessors amono- 
the early Christians were amazingly great, and their decisions 



Contests about the Lapsed. 39 

were regarded as almost divine, it had become the custom, [p. 490.] 
even in the preceding century,(') to admit to the communion those 
among the hipsed who could procure a testimonial of fraternal 
love from a martyr, on their exhibiting to him a few signs of 
contrition. Such testimonies from a mart3^r, signifying that he 
could forgive and hold fellowship with certain persons, were 
usually called Libdli Pads, During this Decian persecution, some 
martyrs in Africa abused this prerogative immoderately; and 
some of the bishops and presbyters, either from fear or veneration 
of the martyrs, or from ignorance of ecclesiastical law, were too 
ready to receive the offenders who were provided with these 
certificates,(^) To the evils which were to be apprehended from 
this imprudence and ready acquiescence, Cyprian^ the bishop of 
Carthage, placed himself in strong opposition. Being then absent 
from his chiu'ch, he wrote Epistles, recommending that this lenity 
should be tempered with due severity, and that proper limits be 
set to the rule Respecting the certificates of peace. And hence he 
became involved in a troublesome controversy with the mart}- rs, 
the confessors, the presbyters, the lapsed, and the people ; but 
from it he came forth victorious.(^) 

(1) Respecting Eg3'pt, see Dionysius Alexandrinus, (apud Euseb. Hist. 
Eecles. L. vi. c. 44.) — As to Africa, Cyprian's Epistles are full on the subject, 

(2) The learned have long remarked, that TerluUian is the earliest writer 
who mentions this custom ; towards the close of his book, de Pudicilia, (c. 22.) 
and in his book, ad Marlyres, (c. 1.) See Gabr. Aibaspinaeus, (Observ. Eecles. 
L. i. Observ. 20. p. 94.) — Hence it is concluded, that this custom was not older 
than the middle of the second century. 

(3) Under the title of Martyrs were included, those on whom a sentence of 
death had already been passed, and also those who had sustained very grievous 
sufferings for Christ's sake, and were still det^iined in prison, uncertain what was 
to befall them. As to the right of these martyrs to give certificates of peace 
when so requested, there was no dispute. Neither did any one deny, or pre- 
tend to deny, that a shorter and lighter penance was to be imposed on the 
persons presenting such certificates to the bishop. Whoever should have con- 
troverted either of these points, would have been accused of violating the 
sanctity and dignity of the martyrs; nay, of high treason against the majesty 
of God, who, as many supposed, spoke and gave his decisions throngii the 
martyrs. The only controversy was, respecting the manner in which this right 
was to be used, and the extent of the influence to be allowed to these certifi- 
cates. These Libelli Pads were not introduced by any law or canon, but only 
by custom ; and theretore, it was uncertain how far this right extended. And 
this uncertainty occasioned many things to be done by the martyrs, during the 



40 Century III. — Section 12. 

Decian persecution, whch were highly detrimental to the welfare of the chnrch, 
[p. 491.] and which, therefore, Cyprian and other bishops felt bound to cei»- 
sure. — In the first place, whereas certificates had formerly been given by the 
martyrs to only a few individuals, and this after a careful examination of each 
case ; in the present persecution, tliey were distributed among all, without dis- 
crimination or distinction ; and the bishops were of course overwhelmed with 
a multitude of these certificates of peace. Says Cyprian (Epistola xiv. p. 24.) : 
Cum comperissem, lapsos exambire ad martyres passim, confcssores quoque, 
importuna et gratiosa deprecatione corrumpere, ut sine ullo discrimine aique 
examine singulorum, darentur quoiidie libellorum millia (a definite number is 
here rhetorically used for one indefinite,) contra Evangelii legem, litteras feci» 
quibus martyres et confcssores, consilio meo quantum possem ad dominica prse- 
cepta revocarcm. There are several other passages in Cyprian, which speak of 
the immense number of the certificates given by the martyrs. On the evils re- 
sulting from them, there is no need to expatiate. With the full expectation of 
obtaining such certificates, everybody hurried away to the judicial tribunals, 
and publicly renouncing Christ, offered sacrifice to the gods ; and then, as if 
they had done right, they proceeded to the prisons, where the more resolute 
Christians were detained awaiting their final sentence, and requested certificates 
of peace ; and, having readily obtained them, they repaired t© the bishops, and 
asked to be restored to fellowship in the church, on the ground that the martyrs 
recognised them in their certificates as brethren. In the persecutions of former 
times, the prudence of the bishops had laid checks upon this evil, arising from 
the indiscretion of ignorant and illiterate martyrs. For they sent discreet and 
well informed deacons to the prisons, to advise the martyrs, and prevent their 
giving certificates indiscriminately, or to any but persons- worthy of their kind 
offices. But under Decius, this wise course was neglected; and hence arose the 
sad confusion, and the unmeasured liberality of the martyrs. Let us hear Cy- 
prian on the subject (Epistola x. p. 20.) : In pra)teritum semper sub anteces- 
soribus nostris factum est, ut diaconi ad carcerem commeantes martyrum deside- 
ria consiliis suis et scripturarum praBceptis gubernarent. Sed nunc cum maximo 
animi dolore cognosce, non tantum illic vobis non suggeri divina pnecepta, sed 
adhuc potius impediri. Most earnestly, therefore, the holy man conjures the 
martyrs to follow the example of their predecessors, and not to give their opinion 
in any case, without close inspection and examination. Quoniam audio, for- 
tissimi et carrissimi fratres, impudentia vos quorundam premi - - oro vos quibus 
possum prccibus, aut Evangelii memores et considerantes quae et qualia in prse- 
teritum antecessores vestri martyres concesserint, quam solliciti in omnibus fue- 
rint, vos quoque sollicite et caute petentium desideria ponderetis, utpote amici 
[p. 492.] Domini, et inspiciatis et actum et opera et merita singulorum, ipsorum 
quoque delictorum genera et qualitales cogitetis, ne si quid abrupte et indigne 
vel a vobis promissum, vel a nobis factum fuerit, apud gentiles quoque ipsos 
ecclesia nostra erubescere incipiat. From this language it is very manifest that 
it was not the right of the martyrs to give certificates of peace to the lapsed, 
recommending them to the churches, but only the use of this right, which wjia 
the subject of controversy. 



Contests about the Lapsed. 41 

This error was accompanied by another of no less magnitude. The martyrs, 
in this Decian persecution, did not always insert the names of the persons to 
whom they wished the church to be reconciled, but naming an individual, they 
connected with him a company who were not named; that is, they recom- 
mended to the communion of the church, all those whom the bearer of the cer- 
tificate might bring forward as his friends and associates. Whoever, thereibre> 
had obtained sucli a vague and indeterminate certificate, might, at his discretion, 
make all he pleased partakers with him in the benefit conferred. And some, if 
I am not deceived, so abused this pernicious power, as actually to sell the pri- 
vilege of sharing in the certificate. This, I think, I can discover in tiie some- 
what obscure language of Cyprian (Epist. x. p. 20.) : Intelligentes et compri- 
mentes eos, (he is addressing martyrs,) qui personas accipienies in benejlciis ves- 
tris, (i. e. who extend your favors, not to those worthy of them, but to those 
they choose, however unworthy,) aut gi'atijicaniur, (i. e. either give them away,) 
out ilUcilcc negotiationis nundinas aucupantur, (i. e. or search for buyers of the 
priviliges contained in the certificate, thus making merchandise of the privileges 
they had obtained.) On discovering Christians of such corrupted morals and 
perverse minds, in this early age of the church, we need not greatly wonder at 
the temerity and licentiousness of the subsequent ages, in making everything 
sacred venal, and converting the sins of men into a source of gain. But this 
was then a new crime ; for the martyrs of earlier times did not give such cer- 
tificates. At this period, doubtless, there were evil-minded and cunning men, 
who did not stop with renouncing Christ, but were willing to add sin to sin, and 
therefore blandly persuaded the honest but uneducated martyrs, who had none 
to direct and guide them, to issue such certificates. Of this wrong conduct, 
Cyprian himself complains, (Epist. x. pp. 20. 21.) : Sed et illud ad diligentiam 
vestrara redigere et emendare debetis, ut nominatim designetis eos, quibus pa- 
cem dari desideratis. Audio enim quibusdam sic libellos fieri, ut dicatur: 
" Communicet ille cum suis :" quod nunquam onmino a martyribus factum est, 
ut incerta et coeca petitio invidiam nobis postmodum cumulet. Late enim patet, 
quando dicitur: "Jlle cum suis;" et possunt nobis viceni et triceni et amplius 
offerri, qui propinqui et affines et liberti ac domestici esse asseverentur ejus, qui 
accepit libellum. Et ideo peto, ut eos, quos ipsi videtes, quos nostis, [p. 493.] 
quorum poenitentiam satisfactioni proximam conspicitis, designetis nominatim 
libello, et sic ad nos fidei ac disciplinse congruentes litteras dirigatis. 

Some of the martyrs, before dying for Christ, gave direction to certain of 
their friends to issue certificates in their names, when dead, indiscriminately, to 
all who should ask for them. An example of this we have in the Epistle of 
Lucian, a Confessor, to Celerinvs, (among the Epistles of Cyprian, Epist. xxi. 
p. 30.) : Cum benedictus martyr Paulus, adhuc in eorpore esset, voeavit me et 
dixit mihi: Luciane, coram Christo dico tibi, ut si quis post arcessitionem meam, 
(i. e. after I am put to death,) abs te pacem petierit, da in nomine meo. And 
Cyprian informs us, (Epist. xxii. p. 31.) that this Lwc/ar?, whom he pronounces 
a man of piety, but not well informed on religious subjects : Libellos manu sua 
scriptos gregatim nomine Pauli dabat. Cyprian adds: Lucianus, non tantum 
Paulo adhuc in carcere posito, nomine illius libellos manu sua scriptos passim 



42 Century IIL—Scctlon 12. 

dedil, sed et post ejus excessum cadem facere sub ejus nomine perscvemv it, di- 
cens hoc sibi ab illo mandatum. And this same Lucius gave certificates in the 
name of another martyr, Aurelius, who was unable to write : Auiciii quoquc 
adoiescentis tormenta perpessi nomine, libelli multi dati sunt ejusdeni Luc-iani 
manu scripti, quod litteras ille non nosset. Tiie martyrs who were so liberal as 
to order certificates to be given to all applicants, when they were dead, apjiear 
to have cherished a great error by believing, that so great was the efficacy of 
the death they were about to suffer, that it could expiate the sins of other per- 
sons; and tiiat the injunctions of a deceased and triumphant martyr were ]ier- 
fectly satisfactory both to God and to men. Thus much is certain, and is 
manifest from Cyprian's Epistles, and from his book de Lapsis, that most of the 
martyrs were ignorant of the true grounds of these certificates of peace ; and 
they imagined grounds for them quite inconsistent with the Christian religion. 
This Cyprian in some measure perceived, as appears, among other things, from 
his reprehension of Lucian's proceedings, (Epist. xxi. p. 32.) : Cum Dominus 
dixerit, in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti gentes tingi, et in bajjtismo 
praeterita peccata dimitti, hie prcecepti et legis ignarus mandat pacem dari et pec- 
cata dimitti in Pauli nomine, et hoc sibi dicit ab illo esse mandatum. This is a 
frigid and futile argument; as also are, it must be confessed, many others oc- 
curing in the writings of Cyprian. This excellent man is not entirely self'-con- 
sistenr, on this whole subject; and he especially vacillates in regard to the force 
and the ground of these certificates; yet he partially apprehended the subject. 
Those who gave the certificates, whether from their ignorance, or from rash and 
hasty judgments, really believed that martyrs received power from God to for- 
give sins, and remit the penalties incurred by transgressors. And Cyprian ef- 
fected nothing, either by the preceding argument, or by any others. For this 
[p. 494.] Lucian, whom he endeavored to set right, being provoked and irritated 
by Cyprian's letters, burst every bond of modesty, and, getting others of the 
confessors to join him, issued, in his own name, and in that of all the con- 
fessors, a general certificate of peace, requiring that all the lapsed, without ex- 
ception, should be restored to the church. Says Cyprian (Epist. xxii. p. 31.) : 
Postquara ad Confessoros litteras mi.si, ut quasi moderatius aliquid et tempe- 
rantius fieret, universorum Confessorum nomine idem Lucianus epistolam 
scripsit, qua pajne omne vinculum fidci et timer Dei et mandatum Domini et 
Evangelii sanctitas et firmitas solveretur. Scripsit enim omnium nomine unicer- 
sis (lapsis) eos pacem dedis.se, et banc formam per me aliis episcopis innotes- 
cere velle : cujus epistolae exemplum ad vos transmisi. 

This improper conduct of the martyrs, who were generally illiterate and un- 
acquainted with the Christian discipline, might perhaps have been easily check- 
ed and corrected, if the presbyters and bishops had done their duty. But they, 
actuated by hatred of Cyprian and by other motives, shamefully increased the 
evil, and wished more to be conceded than the martyrs asked for. It was not 
the aim of the martyrs to subvert all order and to prostrate the authority of the 
bishops by means of their certificates, nor to exempt those whom they u'lder- 
took to patronise entirely from ecclesiastical penalties. This is clear, from the 
language of Lucian himself, tlie most audacious and indiscreet of them all: 



Contests about the Lapsed. 48 

{Cyprian, Epist. xxi. p. 30.) : Et ideo, Fnitcr, pelo, ut, sieut hie, cum Dominus 
coeperit i|;8i^ eccleyiae pacein dare, secundum praeceptum Pauli (not, Paul the 
apostle, but Paul the martyr, in whose name Lucian issued the certificates,) et 
nostrum tr.ictatum, exposita caussa apud episcopum, et facta exomologc<i, ha- 
Leant pacem non tantum hae, sed et quas scia ad animum nostrum pertinere. 
It appears therefore, — 1. That he did not wish the lapsed to be immedi.itely re- 
stored to the church, from which they iiad excluded themselves by sinning; but 

he would have tiic matter postponed, till the return of more tranquil times. 

2. That he did not ask to have the lapsed restored to communion, without the 
cognisance and assent of the bishop. — 3. That he would have the Lipscd pub- 
licly confess their fault, and humbly ask the forgiveness of the church: Exo- 
mologesm facere. He by no means wished all the lapsed, who held certificates, 
to be received without any punishment, but only those who, after their fall, lead 
a manifestly pious and holy life. This condition Lucian expressly added, in that 
general certificate, which was so particularly offensive to Cyprian. Says 
Cyprian, (Epist. xxii. p. 31.): Additum est plane, dequibus ratio constiterit, quid 
post commissum egerint. Lucian therefore allowed enquiry into the conduct 
of those presenting certificates, and would deprive of the benefits of their certi- 
cates those guilty of new transgression.?. Similar prudence and moderation 
were observed by other martyrs in giving certificates of peace ; as Cyprian has 
recorded in repeated instances. Thus, (Epist. ix. p. 19.): Martyres memores 
loci nostri ad me litteras direxerunt, et petierunt tunc desideria sua [p. 495.] 
examinari et pacem dari, qnando ipsa antea mater nostra ecclesia pacem de 
misericordia Domini prior sumpserit et nos divina protectio reduces ad eccle- 
siam suam fecerit. And (Epist. x. p. 20.) addressing the martyrs, he says: 
Litteras ad me direxistis, quibus examinari disideria vestra et quibusdam lapsis 
pacem dari postulastis, cum persecutione finita convenire in unum cum clero et 
recolligi coeperimus. See also Epist. xi. p. 21. Many also of the lapsed, 
though possessed of certificates, wished nothing to be done preposterously, but 
very modestly submitted their case to the judgment of the bishop. Says Cy- 
frian, (Epist. xxviii. p. 38.) : Scripserunt mihi nuper quidam de lapsis humiles 
et mites et trementes et metuentes Deum, et qui in eeclesia semper gloriose et 

granditer operati sunt. Et quamvis libello a martyribus accepto, ut tanien a 

Domino satisftictio sua admitti possit, orantes scripserunt mihi, se delictum suum 
cognoscere et poenitentiam veram agere, nee ad pacem temere aut importune 
properare, sed expectare praesentiam nostram, dicentes pacem quosque ipsam, 
si eam nobis praesentibus acceperint, dulciorem sibi futuram. Certnin of the 
presbyters, however, at the mere sight of these certificates, in utter disregard of 
the re^psct due to the bishop, and contrary to all order, not even requiring any 
public confession of their faults, admitted all sorts of lapsed persons, at once, 
not only to the assemblies of the church, but even to the Lord's supper ; — than 
which, nothing in that age could be more indiscreet, or more injurious to the 
church. Says Cyprian, (Epist. x. p. 20.) : Presbyteri quidam nee timorem Dei, 
nee episcopi honorem cogitantes — contra Evangelii legem, contra vestram quo- 
que (he is addressing the m:irtyrs,) honorificam petitionem, (mark the circnm- 
spection he uses,) ante actam poenitentiam, ante exomologesin gravissinii atque 



44 Century III— Section 12. 

extremi delicti factam, ante maimm ab episcopo et clcro in poenitentiam impo- 
sitarn, offerre pro illis et eiicharistiara dare, id est, sanctum Domini, corpus pro- 
phanare audent. With grief he repeats the same in the following Letter, 
(Epist. xi. p. 21.) These presbyters, envying Cyprian the honors paid him, 
stirred up the martyrs and confessors to demand that more respect should be 
given to their certificates than heretofore, and that disregarding the authority of 
the bishops, the lapsed should be restored, with no delay whatever. Says Cy- 
prian, (Epist. xl. p. 52.; : Hi fonienta dim quibusdam Confessoribus et horttu 
menta tribuebant, ne eoncordarent cum episcopo suo, ne ecclesiasticam disci- 
plinam cum fide et qulete juxta praecepta dominica continerent, ne confessionia 
suae gloriara incorrupta et immaculata conversatione servarent. Hence those 
great and turbulent movements, both of the confessors and the lapsed; the for- 
mer demanding that their certificates should have the effect of laws and man- 
dates, and the latter, that instant admittance should be allowed them to all the 
sacred rites, on the ground of their certificates. In our province, says Cyprian, 
(Epist. xxii. pp. 31, 32.) : Per aliquot civitates in prajpositos (the bishops,) im- 
[p. 496.] petus per multitudinem factus est, et pacem, quam semel cuncti a 
martyribus et confessoribus datam clamitabant, confestim sibi repreesentari co- 
egerunt, territis et subactis pracpositis suis, qui ad resistendum minus virtute 
animi et robore fidei pra^valebant. Apud nos etiam quidam turbulenti, qui vix 

a nobis in praiteritum regebantur, et in nostram prajsentiam differebantur 

velut quibusdam facibus accensi plus exardescere et pacem sibi datnm extor- 
quere cceperunt. Some of the lapsed had the audacity to send insulting letters 
to Cyprian, in which they did not ask for reconciliation, but claimed that they 
had already obtained it. (Epist. xxix. p. 39, 40.) : Quorumdam lapsorum con- 
spirata temeritas, qui poenitentiam agere et Deo satisfacere detrectant, litteras 
ad me fecerunt, pacem non dandam sibi postulantes, sed quasi jam datara sibi 
vindicantes, quod dicant Pauluin omnibus pacem dedisse. 

(4) Cyprian endeavored to repress the disturbances produced by the certi- 
ficates of peace, in their commencement, by three grave and explicit Epistles, 
addressed, respectively, to the Confessors, the priests, and the people. In these 
Epistles he urged to have the subject postponed until he should return to his 
see ; and the Confessors he exhorted to use prudence and moderation, and the 
people to wait quietly till the persecution should terminate. But, for various 
reasons, these Epistles only created still greater disturbances, as we have al- 
ready intimated. The confessors and martyrs, especially, urged their rights with 
earnestness; and open opposition to them would have been hazardous. The 
Lucian before mentioned, in that general certificate of peace which he wrote in 
the name of all the confessors, threatened Cyprian pretty distinctly, that if he 
persevered in resisting the wishes and demands of the martyrs, the result would 
be, that himself and other martyrs would exclude Cyprian from their commu- 
nion. This short, but threatening and arrogant Epistle of Lucian, is worth in- 
serting here, from Cyprian, (Epist. xvi. p. 26.) : Universi Confessores Cypriano 
Papae salutem ! Scias, nos universis, de quibus apud te ratio constiterit, quid 
post commissum egerint, dedisse pacem. Et banc formam per te et aliis episco- 
j)is innotescere volumus. Oplamus ie cum Sanctis martyribus pacem habere. 



youahfs of Carthage. 45 

Preesente de clero et exorcista et lectorc. What Luci:m here says of liis wish- 
ing Cyprian pacem habere cum marlyrilms, amounts undoubtedly to this : We 
will deprive you of our peace, unless you confirm the peace given by us ; notwith- 
standing all the efforts of Stephen Bahiz, ( in his notes on the passajje,) to 
extenuate the folly of this language. Had they carried these threats into exe- 
cution, they would doubtless have brought the good man into great trouble. 
He was therefore obliged to yield a little, and to treat this dangerous subject 
cautiously and prudently. While he was laboring and trembling, the Roman 
priests and confessors afforded him aid, by their epistle addressed to the priests 
and the people of Carthage, in which they approved and lauded the course he 
had pursued. They also wrote to Cyprian himself, who had by his letters en- 
deavored to bring them to espouse his cause. These epistles from Rome seem 
to have set this controversy nearly at rest ; for we meet with few or [p. 497.] 
no traces of it afterwards. — When Cyprian returned to his church on the ter- 
mination of the Decian persecution, he called a council at Carthage, the Acta 
and Canons of which are mentioned by him in several of his Epistles, ( See 
Epistt. lii. liii. Iv. Ivi. Ixviii.) A principal subject of discussion in the council, 
was the case of the lapsed, and the penance they should perform. But it does 
not appear, that the influence which certificates of peace given by martyrs 
ought to have, was discussed and settled. This subject seems to have been 
designedly passed over, and consigned to oblivion. For it was full of danger 
and difficulty; because, while consulting the interests of the church, the honors 
and authority of the martyrs and confessors, whom the people venerated ex- 
cessively, could not be safely underrated. Cyprian in all his Epistles upon 
this subject, proceeds as if treading on the treacherous embers of a sleeping 
volcano, and is exceedingly careful not to appear to depreciate the honors and 
the dignity of the martyrs. Yet with all his prudence he could not escape 
entirely the indignation of the martyrs and the complaints of the people. 
Wliat then would have occurred, if he had ventured, in the council, in the pre- 
sence of so many living confessors, idolized by the people, to call their prero- 
gatives in question, and to set definite limits to the effects of their certificates 
of peace ? What contention, what clamors, what disputes would have arisen 1 
After this contest, 1 find no further mention of certificates of peace, in any 
ancient history of the Christians. I therefore suspect that the bishops, becom- 
ing more cautious and prudent, in view of this troublesome case, whenever a 
persecution broke out, pursued the old custom, and sent presbyters and dea- 
cons to the prisons, to instruct and guide the martyrs, and prevent their being 
too liberal and indiscreet in the issue of such certificates. 

§ XIII. Contest between Cyprian and Novatus. The contro- 
versy just described, was accompanied by another more trivial 
and limited in its nature, but, on account of its source and origin, 
greater and more formidable ; for it arose from hatred and the 
indulgence of unrestrained passion ; and it was protracted, and 
was conducted with an animosity, perhaps, greater than the case 



46 Century HI. — Section 13. 

demanded, till it ended in a deplorable scliism.(') N'ovatus, a 
presbyter of Carthage, even prior to the persecution under De- 
cius, had had disagreement with Cyprian, his bishop, for some 
cause nut now known, and had drawn off some of the brethren 
from him ; that is, he had persuaded them not to follow the de- 
mands of the bishop in everything. Q If we give credit to his 
adversary's statements, N'ovatus was not only factious, vain, and 
rash, but also guilty of many offences and crimes. Cyprian, 
therefore, purposed to call him to a judicial trial, and to exclude 
[p. 498.] him from the communion of the church. And the day 
for his trial had been appointed, when, suddenly, the publication 
of the emperor's edict intervened ; and, as it obliged Cyprian to 
betake himself to flight, N'ovatus remained safe in his former po- 
sition. (^) This was the first act in this protracted drama. 

(1) The history of the two-fold schism, produced by Novalus and Nova- 
tian at Rome, and by Felicissimus at Carthage, in the midst of the Decian per- 
secution, must be gathered from the Epistles of Cyprian, from Eusehius, from 
the Fabulai Ifereticorum of Theodoret, and from detached passages of other 
ancient writers. Yet the few documents we have relative to this protracted 
contest, are insufficient to give us a full and perfect knowledge of it. The 
primary and, so to speak, interior causes of this conflict, are, in great measure, 
undiscoverable ; nor will equity or reason permit us to believe everything true, 
which is told us by Cyprian and the other bitter enemies of Novalus and his 
friends. If I am not greatly deceived, there were faults on both sides ; but 
which was most blameable, the scantiness of the records that have reached us, 
make it very difficult to decide. The short statement of this controversy given 
above, differs in some respects, from that heretofore given by the learned. Yet 
I have stated nothing without good reason ; nor can the order and connexion 
of the events be apprehended differently. The affairs of Novalus, of Felicissi- 
mus, and of Novalian were certainly connected; and yet, in some sense, they 
were disconnected. This connexion in some respects and disconnexion in 
others, have not been carefully discriminated, by most of those who have 
written on the subject ; and often they so mix up things, that their readers are 
left in great perplexity and uncertainty. I make no exceptions among even 
the most distinguished expounders of the affairs of Christians. 

(2) Novalus, with whom this whole controversy originated, was undoubt- 
edly a Carthagenian presbyter. For no one who reads the Epistles of Cyprian 
censuring him, will give credit to Baronius, who would make him a bishop. 
And yet, if I can judge, he was not one of the presbyters who served the prin- 
cipal church and were always near the bishop, but he presided over a separate 
congregation distinct from the principal church. I think this may be inferred 
from the fact, that he created Felicissimus a deacon; of which Cyprian so 
bitterly complains, (Epist. xlix. p. 63.) : Ipse (Novatus) est, qui Felicissimum 



Novatus of Carthage. 47 

Bntcllitem suiim diaconuiii, nee permittciito me, nee scicntc, sua factione et am- 
bitione constitnit. Whether this occurred while Cyprian was at C:\rlliaife, or 
in iiis nbsencc during the persecution, I think we must come to the conclusion 
stated. If Novatus ventured to do this, before the persecution, and while 
Cyprian was in Carthage, (which is quite supposeble,) it must be [p. 499,] 
manifest, that Novatus had charge of a separate congregation distinct from that 
of Cyprian. For how could an individual presbyter create a deacon in the 
bishop's own church, and the bishop be present, and not know of it? IIow 
could he have so obtruded this deacon upon the bishop ? If this occurred dur- 
ing the absence of Cyprian, we must come to the same conclusion. For 
although some of the presbyters and a portion of the people were not very 
partial to Cyprian, yot the greater part of the church had the highest respect 
and reverence for him ; and therefore, no presbyter could so manage as to 
cause a deacon to be appointed without the bishop's knowledge and contrary 
to his pleasure. The wliole, or at least the greater part of the church would 
have resisted it, and have cried out that the head of the church must be con- 
sulted and have a voice in the matter. But the congregations that were sepa- 
rate from the mother church and the bishop, and had their own appropriate 
presbyters, had likewise their own deacons; and if Novatus had charge of such 
a church, he might have created Felicissimus a deacon in his church, without 
the knowledge or consent of the bishop. And this supposition is confirmed by 
the language used by Cyprian. For it appears, that Novatus did not create a 
deacon by his own sole authority and choice, but, as Cyprian' s\ar\gua.gQ shows, 
(sua factione et amhiiione,) in his fiictious ambitious spirit, by flattery and in- 
trigue, he persuaded the church under him to elect Felicissimus deacon. Had 
Novatus simply assumed, contrary to ecclesiastical law, the power of consti- 
tuting a deacon in his own church, there would not be ground for charging 
him with either faction or ambition. Besides, Cyprian does not blame him for 
recommending to his church the election of Felicissimus to the office of deacon, 
which it was lawful and right for him to do ; but he complained, that Novatus 
undertook and carried through the whole business, without consulting him, or 
letting him know anything of it. Novatus, doubtless, believed that such a con- 
gregation, distinct from the mother church, liad the right and the power of 
electing their own servants, with consent of the presbyter who had charge of 
them. But Cyprian, who was a most strenuous defender of episcopal riglits 
and authority, contended that nothing whatever, even in those minor Christian 
assemblies, ought to be undertaken or transacted without the approbation and 
consent of the bishop ; and he therefore considered Novatus as censurable for 
recommending to his church the choice of Felicissimus for deacon, before he 
had been approved of and judged worthy of a deaconship by the bishop. 
Perhaps Novatus intentionally neglected to consult the bishop, because he 
knew that Cyprian had a dislike to the man. The church over which ISovatus 
presided, worshipped on a certain hill in Carthage. This, I think, Cyprian in- 
timates, (Epist. xxxviii. p. 51.) where he &ays of Felicissimus : Comminatus est 

fratribus nostris potentatu improbo et terrore violento, quod secum in morde 

non communicarent, qui nobis obtemperarc voluissent. Many copies, both 



48 Century Ill—Section 13. 

[p. 500.] manuscript and printed, here read, in morte. But this reading^ is des- 
titute of meaning; and Felicissimus would iiave been a fool to have threat- 
ened such a thing to his adversaries, when it would have frightened nobody. 
The learned have therefore long considered the true reading to be, in monte. 
And this reading is much confirmed by the appelhition of (Montenses) the Hill 
People, given to the Novatians at Rome, according to Epiphanius, (in Ancorato, 
c. 13. Opp. torn. ii. p. 18.) They were probably so called, because they con- 
sidered that portion of the Carthagenian church, which worshipped on some 
hill or mountain of the city, to be the only true church of Carthage. Hence 
Felicissimus threatened the friends of Cyprian with exclusion from communion 
in the Hill Church : which was unquestionably the church in which Felicissi- 
mus officiated as deacon, and, of course, had some authority ; and, as this was 
the church over which Novatus presided, it must be clear, that I am correct in 
stating, that Novatus had charge of a small congregation, distinct from the 
mother church, which assembled on some hill in Carthage. 

If we may give credit to Cyprian and his adherents, there were few worse 
men among the Christians of that age than Novatus. Cyprian says of him, 
(Epist. xlix. p. 63.) : Rerum semper cupidus, avaritiae inexplebiiis, rapacitate 
furibundus, arrogantia et stupore superbi tumoria inflatus, semper istic episco- 
pis male cognitus, quasi hasreticus semper et perfidus omnium sacerdotum voce 
damnatus, curiosus semper ut prodat, ad hoc adulatur ut fallat, nunquam fidelis 
ut diligat, fax et ignis ad conflnnda seditionis incendia, turbo et tempestas ad 
fidei facienda naufragia, hostis quietis, tranquillitatis adversarius, pads inimicus. 
So many and so great diseases of the mind, he had manifested by his great 
enormities and crimes. For, not to mention his seditious conduct towards his 
bishop, he was a thief, a robber, a parricide, and a perpetrator of sacrilege. 
Spoliati ab illo pupilli, fraudatse viduse, pecuniae ecclesise denegatse has de illo 

exigunt poenas. Pater etiam ejus in vico fame mortuus, et ab eo in morte 

postmodum nee sepultus. Uterus uxoris calce percussus, et abortione proper- 
ante in parricidium partus exprcssus. What can be more base and detestable 
than such a man? The best informed ecclesiastical historians have no hesita- 
tion as to the entire truth of these statements, because they come from a very 
holy martyr, in whose affirmation implicit confidence must be placed. And far 
be it from me, to accuse the holy man of falsehood or intentional misrepresen- 
tation. But I suppose, candid and well-informed men will readily concede, 
that a martyr might commit mistakes and errors ; that under the influence of 
strong passions and an excited imagination he might exaggerate in some things, 
and extenuate in others. And therefore, if we suppose something of this na- 
ture, in the present case, occurred in regard to the otherwise excellent Cyprian^ 
we shall do no injury to his reputation. In recounting the vices of Novatus 
he is manifestly declamatory, and plays the orator ; and those who understand 
huma^i nature, know that we are never more liable to err, than in describing 
the character of other men, and especially of our enemies. That Novatus was 
[p. 501.] contentious, prone to innovation, and also factious, I can readily 
admit; but the good Cyprian could sometimes discover faults where there were 
none, and was too virulent against those whom he regarded as hostile to his 



Novatus of Carthage. 49 

reputation and dignity. To express my own opinion, I cannot look upon 
Novatus a3 so blacif a cliaracter as Cyprian represents liiin ; because he neittier 
soug'iit nor obtained for himself any great advantages, throughout this long and 
vehement contest. He allowed others to be created bishops, and enjoy t.ho 
fruits and rewards of the dissension ; but for himself, he was contented witii 
his situation and the rank of a presbyter, and chose rather to minister than to 
bear rule. This indicates his moderation. The crimes, with wiiich Cyprian 
charges him, were doubtless the subject of common talk, and were, therefore, 
collected from common fame; but it is observable, that iVol•a^^/s was never con- 
victed of them. He could not, indeed, after he left Africa, be summoned to a 
trial ; but Cyprian might have substantiated the crimes of the absent man by 
examining the witnesses, and have legitimately passed sentence on him if found 
to be guilty. But it is manifest, that he did neither; nor does he let fall a 
single word, even in the passages wjiere he shows the most anger, from which 
it can be inferred, that Novatus was proved guilty of the crimes which common 
fame charged upon him, and that on such ground he had been deposed from 
office and ejected from the church. It is therefore no rash conjecture, to sup- 
pose that the truth of these enormous imputations could not be substantiated. 
Felicissimus the friend of Novatus, Cyprian condemned and excommunicated : 
and why should he spare Novatus, if he knew him to be guilty of such enor- 
mities 1 

But let us pass over these points, which it is absolutely impossible at this 
day to clear up, because no writings of Novatus have reached us; and let us 
look into the controversy, of which Novatus was the prime cause and author. 
The learned are agreed, that Novatus v/as the original cause of the African 
disturbances. And this is explicitly stated by Cyprian, ( Epist. xlix. p. 63.) : 
Idem est Novatus, qui apud nos primum discordia) et schismatis incendium 
eeminavit. — But I cannot agree with those who think, that these contests and 
disturbances commenced in the absence of Cyprian, and in the midst of the 
persecution, and that, before the Decian persecution, Novatus had never plotted 
against his bishop. We have testimony to the contrary, in the epistle already 
cited, and proof that before Cyprian's retirement, Novatus was hostile to him. 
Cyprian clearly discriminates between the offences of Novatus before the per- 
tecution, and those during the persecution ; and he says, that Novatus, before 
the persecution, had alienated brethren from the bishop : Qui quosdam istic ex 
fratribus ab episcopo segregavit, (this he did before the persecution began ; 
next follows his criminal conduct during the persecution;) qui in ipsa persecu- 
<sone ad evertendas fratrura mentes alia qua? dam persequutio nostris fuit. And 
who, let me ask, can doubt, that a controversy had arisen between Cyprian and 
Novatus, before the Decian persecution, when he hears Cyprian [p. 602.] 
himself declaring, that he should have arraigned Novatus before the tribunal 
of bishops, and have cast him out of the church, if he had not been prevented 
by the emperor's edict? lie says, indeed, that the crimes of Novatus, and not 
any private or personal offence, had caused him to form that purpose. But of 
the crimes of Novatus, we have already given our views ; they were not so 
clear and manifest as to demand public animadversion. Neither does Cyprian^ 

VOL. II. 5 



50 Century Ill—Section 14. 

as we have already seen, disguise the fact, that the enormity of hi3 evil deed* 
was augmented by some offence against the honor and right of his bishop. 
What it was that set tlie presbyter and the bishop at variance, does not fully 
appear. But I strongly incline to believe, that Novatus^ conferring the office of 
deacon on Felicissimu*", witiiout the consent and approbation of Cyprian, irri- 
tated the feelings of the bishop, who held his episcopal dignity in the highest 
estimation ; and that here commenced the whole sad conflict. I am aware, 
that some learned men suppose that Felicissimus was constituted deacon while 
Cyprian was absent, and they censure John Pearson, who maintains, (Annal. 
Cyprian, 5 20. 22. p. 25.) tliat he had been put into that office, before the 
quarrel began. But they can allege nothing in support of their opinion, except 
the question, " Who consecrated or ordained Felicissimus ?" What bishop 
would have presumed to do it, if Cyprian had been at home ! See Tillemonl^ 
(Memoires pour servir a THistoire de I'Eglise, torn. iv. P. I. p. 393.) To this 
question, I answer: iVom/us, Mmse//", consecrated his deacon; and he thought 
this to be lawful. Those Presbyters who, like Novaius, had charge of separate 
churches, enjoyed many prerogatives, which did uot belong to the other pres- 
bytei-s who were connected with the bishop. But Cyprian deemed this to be 
unlawful. And so ho intimates, I apprehend, when he says, that (amhitione Novali) 
through the ambition of Novatus, the man (conslitutum fuisse) was constituted 
deacon, (se non permittente) without his permission. According to Cyprian's 
views, Novatus should have asked leave of his bisliop to initiate his deacon ; 
but, being inflated by ambition, and presiding over a church situated perhaps in 
the suburbs, or on some neighboring hill, he supposed the permission of the 
bishop not necessary to the transaction. And here lay his chief fault. 

(3) See Cyprian, (Epist. xlix. p. 64.) : Hanc conscientiam criminum (Nova- 
tus) jam pridem timebat. Propter hoc se non de presbyterio excitari tantum 
(be excluded from the class of presbyters.) sed et communicatione prohiberi 
pro eerto tenebat. (But how could the worthy Cyprian know this, and here 
assume power to judge of the thoughts of another ?) Et urgentibus fratribus 
imminebat eognitionis dies, quo apud nos caussa ejus ageretur, nisi persecutio 
ante venisset, quam iste voto quodam evadendte et lucrandaj damnationis exci- 
piens, (i. e. he rejoiced in this occurrence. But who had told Cyprian that 
fact?) haec omnia commissit et miscuit ; ut qui ejici de ecclesia et cxcludi habe- 
[p. 603.] bat, judicium sacerdotum voluntaria discessionc prsecederat : quasi 
evasisse sit poenam, praevenisse sententiam. — Many, both ancients and moderns^ 
have understood the last part in this quotation, as referring to the journey of 
Novatus to Rome ; and they suppose Cyprian intended to say, that Novatus 
escaped the sentence impending over him, by his flight. But in this they are 
clearly mistaken. The (voluntaria discessio) voluntary departure, of which 
Cyprian speaks, was a withdrawal from the church, as is manifest from what 
precedes. Novatus withdrew himself from the bishop and the church, to pre- 
vent being excluded by the priests. 

§ XIY. The Schism of Felicissimus at Carthage. After the de- 
parture of Cyprian, and so long as the African magistrates kept 



Schism of Fdicissimus. 5| 

up a vigorous persecution of the Christians, these movements 
were dormant. But when the fury of the persecution gradually 
subsided, and Cyprian began to prepare for returning to his church, 
now fast recovering its former tranquillity, Novaius^ doubtless, 
fearing that the returning bishop would revive the prosecution 
which he had commenced before his flight, deemed it necessary 
to organize a party which should obstruct the return of liis ad- 
versary to his church, and thus to deprive him of the means of 
annoyance to himself (') And, therefore, by means of Felicissi- 
mus^ the deacon whom he had ordained against the pleasure of 
the bishop, he drew off a portion of the church from Cyprian ; 
and, particularly, with the aid of one Augendus^ he resisted the 
regulations which Cyprian had sanctioned, in reference to the 
poor. To his party belonged, not only many of the people, but 
especially five presbyters, who had long indulged animosity to- 
wards Cyprian.{') This turbulent faction were able to retard 
somewhat the return of Cyprian^ but they could not frustrate it. 
Therefore, after a short delay, which prudence suggested, the 
bishop returned to Carthage, and assembling a council, princi- 
pally on account of the lapsed, he began to repress the rashness 
of his adversaries ; and he excelled* Felicissiinus, the author of 
the sedition, and the five presbyters, his associates, from the 
church. The ejected persons, unawed by this punishment, set up 
a new church at Carthage, in opposition to Cyprianh congre- 
gation, and placed over it, as bishop, Fortunatus^ one of the five 
presbyters, whom Cyprian had excommunicated. (^) But this 
company had more courage than efficiency, and sinking into dis- 
cord, seems, not long after, to have become extinct, for none of 
the ancients make mention of its progress. 

(1) Cijjprian does not expressly say that Novatus induced Felicissi- [p. 504.] 
mus to organize this opposition to him; but this is inferred, from the fact, that 
he throws on Novatus all the blame of the divisions and discords in the church. 
He says, (Epist. xlix. p. 64.) : Circa cseteros autem fratres elaboramus, quos ab 
eo (Novato) circumventos dolemus, ut veteratoris perniciosum latus fugiant, ut 
lethales laqueos sollicitantis evadant, ut de qua pelli ille divinitus meruit eccle- 
siam repetant : quos quidem, Domino adjuvante, per ejus misericordiam regrcdi 
posse confidimus. In the same Epistle, he calls Fdicissimus (satcllitem Novalx) 
a satellite of Novatus; which pretty distinctly implies tiiat Novatus used Fcli- 
cissimus as his agent or instrument for disturbing the peace of the Church, and 
setting it at variance with its bishop. But, as I observed at the first, many 



52 Century III. — Section 14. 

things relating to this contest arc unknown to us; and Cyprian himself some- 
times speaks, as if Felicissimus did not act from the instigation of another, 
but from the impulse of his own mind. In his 38th Epistle, (p. 51.) in which 
he descants warmly on the criminality of Felicissimus, he makes no mention 
whatever of Novalus, but represents Felicissimus as the cause of all the evil. 
He says: Nee loci mei honoremotus, nee vestraauctoritateet praesentia fractus, 
insi'mctu S'uo quietem fratrum turbans proripuit se cum plurimis, Ducem se fac- 
tionis ct seditionis principem temerario furore contestans. The affairs of Nova- 
ius and Felicissimus were undoubtedly connected; and that each of them aided 
the other, is beyond controversy : yet the two movements seem to have stood 
disconnected, In some respect, which we are unable even to conjecture. In the 
progress of the controversy, this disconnexion becomes manifest. For Nova- 
tus joined the followers of Novatian, from whom Felicissimus kept aloof. 
Novatus set up one Maximus as a bishop at Carthage, and Felicissimus set up 
another, in the person of Forlunatus. This shows, tliat the two sects had 
nothing in common at that time, except their hatred of Cyprian. In the com- 
mencement of the controversy, however, their connexion seems to have been 
more intimate. 

(2) Felicissimus, as a man, was not much better than his presbyter Novatus. 
For Cyprian charges him not only with /m«c? and 7'apine,'b\it also with adultery : 
Ad fraudes ejus et rapinas, quas dilucida veritate cogno\imus, adulterium etiam 
crimen accedit, quod fratres nostri graves viri deprehendisse se nunciaverunt et 
probaturos se asseverarunt. This occurs in Epistle 38. (p. 51.): and in another 
Epistle, (55. p. 79.) he is branded with marks of still greater infamy; for he is 
pronounced. Pecuniae commissae sibi fraudator, stuprator virginum, matrimo- 
niorum multorum depopulator atque corruptor. It was not therefore one act of 
adultery, but many, that he committed; and not satisfied with that form oi 
wickedness, he violated the chastity of many virgins. I confess, I must here 
[p. 505.] doubt a little, and must suspect that Cyprian, in the ardor of his in- 
dignation, expressed more than he intended. But let us dismiss our suspicions, 
and listen to the martyr. This debauchee, then, who was unworthy of the name 
of a man, stirred up the sad conflict, while Cyprian was absent. Cyprian in 
his exile had sent four deputies to Carthage, the two bishops Caldonius and 
Herculanus, and two very distinguished confessors, the priests Rogalianus and 
Numidicus, who, in the bishop's name and stead, should distribute among the 
poor the moneys due to them, and carefully examine the lives and the condition 
of those who were living on the bounties of the church, in order to advance the 
most worthy of them to sacred functions. I will give the substance of this 
commission in the holy man's own words; (Epist. xxxviii. p. 51. ed Baluz. 
which is the edition I always quote ;) addressing the deputies, he says : Cum- 
que ego vos pro me vicarios miserim, ut expungeretis necessitates fratrum nos- 
trorum sumptibus (i. e. with the money collected by the church for the poor,) 
si qui etiam vellent suas artes exercere, additamento, quantum satis esset, desi- 
deria eorum juvaretis: simul etiam et aetateseorum et conditiones et merita 
discerneretis, ut jam nunc ego, cui cura incumbit, omnes optime nossem et 
dignos quoque et humiles et mites ad ecclesiasticae adrainistrationis ofRcia pro- 



Schism of FcUcismmus. 53 

moverera. It appears then — First : Thut Cyprian intended, by these deputies, 
necessitates expungi fratrum sumptihus ; i. e. to relieve the wants of the brethren 
from the funds of the church. For expungere necessitates, is simply to satisfy and 
remove the wants of the poor. — Secondly ; That he wished those among the 
poor, who were disposed to labor at their trades, to be supplied with money 
from the church treasury suilieient for purchasing the necessary tools and 
moans for business. — Tiiirdly : That he wished tliose among the poor, who 
were fit for deacons and other sacred functions, to be removed from the class of 
the poor who were supported by the church, in order to their admission to the 
class of officers of the church; in short, he wished the fund for the poor to be 
relieved of a part of its burden. All these measures were honorable, pious, and 
useful. But Felicissimus resisted them. He would not have (necessitates ex- 
pungi,) the wants of the brethren relieved, nor have such an examination of the 
indigent as the bishop directed. Snys Cyprian: Intercessit, ne quis posset 
expungi, (being a deacon, he held the church funds, and therefore was able to 
prevent the giving of relief to the embarrassed; he refused to pay over to the 
bishop's deputies the moneys in his hands:) neve ea, quae desideraverara, pos- 
sent diligenti examinatione discerni. The necessities of many were indeed re- 
lieved; that is, as Cyprian soon after states, through the hands of the deputies, 
(stipendia episcopo dispensante percipiebant,) they received the stipends which 
the bishop dispensed. For Felicissimus had not the whole treasury in his 
hands, but only that of the Hill Ciiurch, of which he was deacon. But as he 
held out severe threats against those who did not reject the relief [p. 506.] 
profferred by Cyprian^s deputies, many abstained from it, and would not avail 
themselves of the kind offers of the deputies. And these, undoubtedly, Feli- 
cissimus relieved from the funds in his hands. Comminatus est fratribus nostris, 
qui primi expungi accesserant potentatu improbo et terrore violento, quod se- 
cum in monte non coramunicarent, qui nobis obtemperare noluissent; i. e. he 
threatened, that he and the Hill Church, of which he was deacon, would not 
hold those as brethren, who, being in want, should make application to the 
bishop's deputies. — Here we have the crime of Felicissimus. But the cause or 
pretext for the criminal act, Cyprian does not mention; nor has any one, so far 
as I know, attempted its investigation. This, therefore, is a problem for us to 
solve : and it is not so abstruce, as to require great ingenuity for its solution. 
Felicissimus, as we have seen, was a deacon ; and therefore to him belonged 
the care of the poor, and the administration of the treasury of the church. 
Now the authority and dignity of deacons, were far greater in the African church 
than in the other churches, as might be shown from various testimonies. They, 
equally with the presbyters, had a seat in the councils, as appears from Cyprian's 
65th Epistle, and other places. They were dispatched to the prisons, to look 
after the martyrs and confessors, and be thoir counsellors, as before shown. In 
the absence of the presbyters, they could receive the confessions of offenders, 
and absolve the penitent. This Cyprian admits, in his 13th Epistle, where ho 
allows the lapsed to make their confession to the deacons. They also had 
some share in the government of the church. Therefore Felicissimjis, inllated 
with the pride of office, maintained, that the distribution of money to the poor 



54 Century III. — Section 14. 

and other matters, should have been assigned by the bishop to himself and the 
other deacons, and not to deputies commissioned by him; and he complained, 
that by his commission, Cyprian trespassed on the rights of the order of dea- 
cons. This solution will at once suggest itself to a person familiar with Chris- 
tian antiquities, and duly considering the case. But, perhaps, this daring man 
meditated something still more criminal. He contended, perhaps, that by forsak- 
ing his church in the time of persecution, and seeking his own safety by flight, 
Cyprian forfeited his dignity, and deprived himself of the honors and the rights 
pertaining to a bishop: and therefore, that his orders, communicated through 
his deputies, were to be disregarded, as being those of a man no longer pos- 
sessing authority ; and that another head must be placed over the church. 
And it is well known, that others, likewise, called in question the prudence of 
Cyprian, in withdrawing from his church when conflicting with its enemies. 

Cyprian, on being informed of the criminal conduct of Felicissimus, imme- 
diately addressed to his legates a letter which has come down to us, ordering 
the man to be ejected from the church. The legates obeyed their instructions, 
without delay, and declared unworthy of communion in the sacred rites, not 
on]y Feiicissi77ius, the author of -the disturbance, but also one Aiigendus, hh 
associate, concerning whom we have no knowledge, and some others of both 
sexes. This appears from a letter of the legates, among the Epistles of 
[p. 507.] Cyprian, No. xxxix. This act certainly betokens a man of a vehe- 
ment and hasty temper, rather than of a discreet and prudent mind ; and it is 
one of the things which, in my judgment, show that Cyprian was more stu- 
dious of his own honor, than of the public good. In the first place, he assumed 
the office of a judge, in his own cause, contrary to the rules of justice; for the 
contest was respecting the extent of the bishop's rights, and those of the order 
of deacons. And that Felicissimus was not destitute of arguments, by which 
to defend his conduct, is sufficiently manifest from the fact, that Cyprian most 
carefully conceals from us the cause which produced the controversy. For if 
the cause alleged by his adversary for his bold resistance to the bishop, had 
been manifestly unjust, or destitute of all plausibility, Cyprian certainly would 
not have passed silently over it, but would have assailed it in his usually elo- 
quent and severe manner. — In the next place, Cyprian, by his deputies, 
expelled from the church one of its ministers or deacons, unheard and uncon- 
victed of crime, by his sole authority, and without consulting the people; which 
ft bishop had by no means a right to do. He therefore went far beyond the 
limits of his power. He mentions, indeed, (in the Epistle before cited,) three 
gi'ounds for his sentence: the threats of Felicissimus, his frauds and rapines, 
and his adultery. But, as Cyprian himself tacitly admits, Felicissimus liad 
never carried his threats into execution ; the frauds and rapines of which 
the bishop says he had the most certain knowledge (se dilucida teriiaie 
cognovisse,) had not been brought forward and spread out before the people ; 
and as to the adultery, as he again admits, it had never been substantiated by 
proof. It was therefore unavoidable, that this rash decision should produce 
still greater dissensions. Among the Carthagenian presbyters, there were /re, 
who had dissented and opposed the elevation of Cyprian to the episcopate. 



Schism of Felicissimus. 55 

These had previously manifested, by various signs, an aversion to him ; and 
now they openly forsook him, and went with the party of Felirissimus ; and 
undoubtedly, for the purpose of obtaininf,^ the appointment of another bi-hop 
in his plaee. Some learned men think Novalus was one of the fLce ; to whieh 
opinion we shall soon give attention. These presbyters, in order to accomplish 
their object more readily, promised to the lapsed, towards whom Cyprian had 
been somewhat severe, that if they would separate themselves from the bishop, 
they should be restored to the fellowship of the church without any penance 
whatever. Says Ci/prian, (Epist. xl. p. 52.) : Conjurationis suae memores, et 

anliqua ilhi contra episcopatum meum venena retinentes,instaurant vetcreni 

contra nos impugnationem suam. - - - Nunc se ad lapsorum perniciem venenata 
sua deceptione verterunt, ut a3gros et saucios, et ad caplenda fortiora con^ilia 
per calamitatem ruinaj suae minus idoneos, et minus solidos, a medela vulnerls 
6ui avocent, et intermissis precibus et orationibus, quibus Dominus longa et 
continua satisfactione plaeandus est, ad exitiosam temeritatem mendacio cap- 
tiosas pads invitent. Most bitterly does this holy man complain of the rashness 
of the five presbyters, in this Epistle addressed to the Christian people. But 
among his complaints and accusations, there are some which are extravagant, 
and would better become an orator laboring to excite odium against [p. 5D8.] 
& criminal, than a Christian bishop. One thing of this character, as it strikes 
me, is his comparing the five presbyters to the five principal men of Carthagey 
who were joined with the magistrates for suppressing and exterminating the 
Christians. Quinque isti presbyteri nihil aliud sunt, quam quinque primores 
illi, qui edicto nuper magistratibus fuerunt copulati, ut fidem nostram subrue- 
rent, ut grncilia fratrum corda ad lethales laqueos prcevaricatione veritatis aver- 
terent. In searching for the import of this passage, learned men have labored 
wonderfully. But it manifestly refers to the five principal citizens, whom Decius, 
in his edict, had coupled with the magistrates, for the more sure accomplish- 
ment of his purpose of exterminating Christianity. By this formidable schism, 
the return of Cyprian to his diocese was, for a time, retarded; yet, very soon, 
casting away all fear, he returned, and by his presence put an end to the strife. 
It now remains for us to inquire, whether the famous Noialus, whom Cij- 
prian terms the standard-bearer of all the Cartiiagenian tumults, was one of 
those five presbyters who joined the party of Felicissijnus? The learned, with 
great unanimity, affirm it: one only, so tar as I know, denies it; namely, John 
Pearson, in his Annales Cypriancae ; and he offers no proof of his opinion. It 
Novalus were one of these presbyters, the cause of his hatred, and of tiie se- 
dition against Cyprian, would be manifest. But, all things considered, I appre- 
liend Pearson was right, and that Novalus is not to be numbered among those 
adversaries of Cyprian, In the first place, it has been already shown, clearly, 
that Novalus was at enmity with Cyprian some time before Felicissimus at- 
tempted to make disturbances in the church at Carthage; and that Chjtrian was 
prevented from bringing him to trial, and ejecting him from the cliurcl), solely 
by the sudden outbreak of the Decian persecution, which obliged Cyprian to go 
into retirement. But those five presbyters did not withdraw themselves from 
Cyprian, until after the sedition excited by Felicissimus. Before that time, they 



56 Century III. — Section 14. 

had dissembled their alienation, and tlie bishop hnd no controversy with them. 
In the next place, it appears, from the 49lh Epistle of Cyprian, (p. 64.) that 
sentence was never pronounced by the council of Carthage against Novalus, but 
tliat he prevented the sentence by his flight. Says tiie bishop: Ejici de ecclesia 
et exdudi habebat. - - Quasi evasisse sit poenam, praivenisse sententiam. And 
he afterwards says : He merited cxpulbiun from the church, (eum meruisse de 
ecclesia pelli.) and not tliat he wan expelled. In fact, Novaiiis, to prevent being 
condemned, witluirew himself from the church of Carthage, and from Cyprian's 
jurisdiction. But those five presbyters, as we shall presently see, appeared be- 
fore the council of bishops whicii Cyprian assembled after his return, made their 
defence, and, by a decree of the council, were excluded from the communion of 
[p. 509.] the church. I am aware that Cyprian says, (Epist. xlix. p. 63.) that 
Novalus was condemned by the voice of all the priests, (perjidus ovinium tSacer- 
datum voce damnalus.) And hence the learned have inferred, that he was con- 
demned in the council, in conjunction with the other presbyters, the enemies of 
Cyprian. But the words may very properly be understood of the private con- 
demnation of individuals ; and they undoubtedly prove, that all the teachers of 
the church disapproved of his temerity and improbity. Besides, unless I am 
wholly deceived, Novalus had already reached Rome, and joined the partizan» 
of Novaliaji, when Cyprian, after his return, instituted a process against the 
faction of Felicissimiis and the five presbyters. The whole history will become 
disjointed, and be very difficult to arrange, unless we take this to be certain. 
And when Cyprian says, explicitly, that Novalv? (sententiam prccvenisse) pre- 
vented sentence being passed by retiring; he clearly intimates that Novalus had 
gone away, and was residing at Rome, before Cyprian returned to his church. — 
Lastly, omitting other things for the sake of brevity, it is certain, that although 
Novalus aided Felicissimus, and was favorable to his cause while in Africa, yet, 
he did not adhere to his party at Rome, but joined a very different one, namely, 
that of Novalian. Neither did he recognize the bishop, Forlunatus, whom the 
faction of Felicissimus had set up in opposition to Cyprian ; but he established 
another bishop at Carthage, namely, Maximus, one of the Novatian party. 

(3) On the subsidence of the Decian persecution, Cyprian returned to Car- 
thage, and immediately summoned a council of bishops, to settle the controversy 
respecting the lapsed, and to try the cause of Fe.licissimus and the presbyters 
associated with him. It were much to be wished that the Acts of this council, 
or at least, the epistle of Cyprian and the African bishops concerning it, of 
which Cyprian makes mention, (Epist. xlii. p. 57.) had come down to us. But 
they are all lost, and we have to form our judgment of the \vhole affair, from a 
few words of Cyprian. From these it appears, Jirst, that Felicissiinus and the 
five presbyters were present and had a hearing before the council. Cyprian^ 
writing to Cornelius, bishop of Rome, says, (Epist. xlii. p. 57.): Quantum vero 
hie ad presbyterorum quorundam et Felicissimi caussam pertinet, quid hie ac- 
tum sit, ut scire posses, litteras ad te collegae nostri (the assembled bishops) 
raanu sua subscriptas miserunt, qui, audilis eis, quid senserint et quid pronun- 
ciaverint, ex eorum litteris disces. Secondly, from another of his Epistles to 
the same Cornelius, (Epist. Iv. p. 87, &c.) it appears, that not only the bishops 



Schism of Felicissimus. 57 

of the African province, but also the presbyters and deacons, and not in a small 
but in a largo number, were present in the convention. Si coruni, qui do illis 
priore anno judicavcrunt, nuraerus cum presbyteris et diaconis coniputetur, plu- 
restunc aftuerunt judicio et cognitioni, quam sunt iidem isti, qui cum Furtinuito 
(the bishop set up by the factious in opposition to Cyprian,) nunc videntur 
esse conjuucti. From the same Epistle, it appears that all of them were eject- 
ed from tlie church by the united suffrage of the bishops; yet not [p, 510.] 
without the prospect of a pardon of their offences, provided they would reform. 
Says Cyprian, (p. 88.) : Nee ecclesia istic cuiquam elauditur, nee episcopus 
alicui denegatur. Patientia et facilitas et humanitas nostra venientibus pracsto 
est. Opto omnes in ecclesiam regredi. Neither does Cyprian omit to mention 
the offences, which called fortii tliis sentence ; but, to my astonishment, he gives 
most prominence to that one, which is the most excusable, and was never num- 
bered among the capital crimes which exclude a man from the church; namely, 
compassion for the lapsed, and defence of the Certificates of Peace heretofore 
mentioned. Let us hear the eloquent man's own words: Taceo itaque de frau- 
dibus ecclesiae fiictis, (i. e. the interception and misapplication of the money of 
the church,) Conjurationes et adulteria et varia delictorum genera praetereo, 
(These the good man considers as minor offences, and as not so much against 
God, as against men and the bishop. But now comes the huge crime against 
God him.self, and for which alone they were deemed worthy of punishment.) 
Unum illud, in quo non mea, nee hominum, sedDei caussa est, de eorum facinore 
non puto esse reticendum, quod a primo statim persecutionis die - - communkare 
cum lapsis, et poeniieniiae agendas intercedere non destiterunt: i. e. they wished 
those, who brought Certificates of Peace from martyrs, to be received again by 
the church. In magnifying this crime, he pours forth all his eloquence, and 
consumes a large part of his Epistle, as if nothing could be more atrocious and 
offensive to God, Now I suppose, that an adulterer, a sacrilegious man, an 
enemy of the public peace, a plunderer of the funds devoted to the poor, is a 
far greater sinner, than the man who, being of a mild temperament and aware 
of human frailty, shows himself kind and lenient towards those, who aposta- 
tised from Christ through fear of death, and themselves abhorred the crime. 
But to tell the truth, it was neither this fliult, nor the bulk of the others, which 
oast Felicissimus and his associates out of the church; but (as the whole Epistle 
ehows,) it was this single one, that Felicissimus dared to oppose the mandates of 
the bishop, and to raise up a party against him. And that excessive lenity to- 
wards the lapsed, was so great and heinous a crime, in the view of Cyprian, be- 
cause it was not only contrary to his judgment in the matter, but also weaken- 
ed his authority. We shall see, in another place, with what zeal this holy man 
labored to defend and exalt the episcopal dignity, at the expense of the people's 
riglits. — In what way the accused conducted their defence, or with what argu- 
ments they justified their conduct, Cyprian has no where informed us. We 
should have been able to judge much better of the merits of this controversy, 
if some of those arguments had reached us. I am very confident that thoy 
accused Cyprian of thirsting for power and lordship; and that they urged tho 
rights of the presbyters, the deacons, and the people. Felicissimus and the 



58 Century Ill.—Sectioji 14. 

presbyters, when condemned by the council, were not disheartened by the 
[p. 511.] contumely, but sought to estabhsh a new congregation at Carthage, 
separated from Cypriaiis church. And over their flock, they made one Forlu- 
natus bishop, obtaining consecration for him from five bishops who are named 
and severely castigated by Cyprian, (Epist. Iv. p. 82.) And thus there were 
three bishops at Carthage, at one and the same time ; namely, Cyprian, whom 
the greater part of the people followed, Maximus, set up by the legates 
of Novatian from Rome, and ForLunalas, whom the faction of Felicissimus 
had created. This last party, in order to strengthen their new chinch, sent 
Felicissimus with quite a number of delegates to Rome, to endeavor to 
bring the Romish bishop Cornslius to espouse their cause, and renounce the 
support of Cyprian. Cornelius was a little perplexed, being terrified by the 
threats of the legates, and stumbled by their false statements. For they threat- 
ened to expose (lurpia mulia ac probrosa) many base and reproachful things, if 
he refused to receive the letter they had brought for him, {Cyprian, Epist. Iv. 
p. 80.) ; and they asserted, that iwenly-five African bisJiops attended the conse- 
cration of Forlunalus. Cyprian contends, that this was a gross falsehood; and 
I believe, he was correct. And yet he seems to admit, that there were more 
ihtmjive bishops present on that occasion; bad ones, however, eitiier lapsed, or 
heretical. Si nomina (of the five-and-twenty bishops) ab eis quaereres, non 
haberent vel quos falso nominarent. Tanta apud eos etiam malorum (episcopo- 
rum, undoubtedly; for he is speaking of bishops,) penuria est, ut ad illos nee de 
gacrificatis, nee de haereticis viginti quinque (episcopi) colligi possint. In the 
assembly, therefore, besides the Jive who consecrated Felicissimus, there were 
several other bishops, but they were either sacrijicers who, of course, must have 
been deposed, or they were, in Cyprian's estimation, heretics. Cornelius as- 
sumed courage, his first fears subsiding, and rejecting the overtures of Felicis- 
simus, he remained friendly to Cyprian. And this was necessary, for his own 
sake; for he was hard pressed by the faction of Novatian, which also assailed 
Cyprian, and inclined towards the party of Felicissimus. What Cornelius 
would have done, had he been free and not in need of Cyprian^s friendship, is 
Another question, and we of^er no conjectures about it. What occured after 
this, — whether Foriunalus had any successor, or whether those who separated 
from Cyprian, returned again to the church, — no ancient writer has informed 
us. Perhaps, this whole taction became amalgamated with the Novatians. 

He who shall impartially examine this controversy, will perhaps admit, that 
it may be pronounced the last struggle of expiring liberty, in the African 
church, against episcopal domination. Cyprian, although he frequently speaks 
modestly enough of himself, and respectfully enough of the martyrs and con- 
fessors, the rights of the presbyters and deacons, and the authority of the peo- 
pie, yet wished to concentrate all power in his own hands, and, subverting the 
ancient form of government, to subject the whole church to the absolute au- 
[p. 512.] thority and good pleasure of the bishop. This was the source of all 
these conflicts. The confessors, the presbyters, the deacons, and the people, 
made a partial resistance ; but the fortitude and perseverance of Cyprian finally 
triumphed. No one will approve of every thing done by his antagonists; yet that 



The Novatlan Schism. 59 

they contended for the rights of the clerg'y and people, in opposition to a 
bishop affecting to have absolute dominion over them, is phiecd beyond all eon- 
troveisy by tiie scanty and obscure documents which iiave come down to us. 

§ XV. The Schism of Novatiaii at Rome. Before the return of 
Cyprian from exile, Novaius, dreading the severity of the bishop, 
had retired to Rome ; where discord and strife were no less pre- 
valent than at Carthage. N'ovatian, one of the Roman presbyters, 
a learned, eloquent, and grave man, but rigid and austere, denied 
that any persons falling into the grosser sins, and especially the 
persons who had forsaken Christ in the Decian persecution, were 
to be received again to the church; and, perceiving that Cor- 
nelius, a man held in the highest estimation among the Romish 
presbyters, and also some others, differed from him on this sub- 
ject, he made the most strenuous opposition to the election of 
Cornelius to succeed Fabian, as bishop of Rome.(') From hatred, 
perhaps, of Cyprian, who was much attached to Cornelius, No- 
vaius became an associate and co-adjutor of Novatian. Neverthe- 
less, Cornelius was elected bishop, and Novatian withdrew from 
communion with him, and was followed, at the instigation of his 
friend, Novatus, by five presbyters, several of the confessors, and 
a portion of the people.(") Both parties, by their letters, appealed 
to Cypriani ; and he, after dispatching legates to Rome, and care- 
fully examining the case, gave his decision in favor of Cornelius. 
And, on the other hand, Cornelius followed the example of Cy- 
prian^s fortitude ; and, in a numerous council, which he assembled 
at Rome, in the year 251, procured the ejectment of JSovaiian 
and his adherents from the church, since nothing would persuade 
them to entertain milder sentiments in regard to the lapsed.(^) 
The issue of this affair was as unhappy as that of the African 
contest; and it was the more lamentable, on account of the long 
continuance of the evil, whereas the African schism was compa- 
ratively of short duration. Those whom Cornelius had excluded 
from the Romish church formed themselves into an associated 
body, over which they placed, as bishop, Novatian, the parent of 
the association. This new company of Christians, although de- 
tested by most of the bishops, who approved the decrees [p. 513.] 
of the Roman council, respecting the lapsed, enjoyed, neverthe- 
less, staunch patrons, and was at once diffused through many 



60 Century III.— Section 15. 

parts of Christendom, and could not be suppressed before tbe 
ffth century. For this, its good fortune, it was indebted to the 
gravity and probity of the teachers who presided over it, and to 
the severity of its discipline, which tolerated no base characters, 
none guilty of the grosser sins.(') 

(1) The .nutbors of most of the schisms among Christians, have been 
charged, justly or unjustly, with many crimes and faults; but this A^orah'an was 
not only accused of no criminal act, but was coinmended, even by those who 
viewed him as warring against the interests of the church, by Cyprian, Jerome 
and others, on account of his eloquence, his learning, and his philosophy. See 
Cyprian, Epist. Hi. and Ivii. His adversary Cornelius, indeed inveighs ngainst 
him with much bitterness, in an Epistle to Fabius, bishop of Antioch, (preserved 
in part by Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 43. p. 244. &c.) ; but still he does 
not impeach his life or moral conduct. And nearly all the charges he brings 
against him, great as they may seem to be, relate to the intentions of the mind, 
which are known only to God: and some of the charges reflect more disgrace 
on Cornelius himself than Aovatian. But he has been taxed with ambition ; 
for it is said that he stirred up this great controversy, merely because Cornelius 
received most votes for the vacant bishopric, which he himself coveted. This 
is an old charge ; and it has acquired so much strength and authority by age 
that all the moderns repeat it with entire confidence ; and they tell us, that 
Cornelius and Novalian were competitors for the episcopate, and that the latter 
failing of an election, disturbed the church, in his lust for office. But I have 
no hesitation to pronounce this a false accusation ; and I think there is no good 
proof that Novalian acted in bad faith, or that he made religion a cloak for his 
desire of distinction. His enemy, Cornelius, does indeed say this, (in his Epist. 
apud Eiiseb. Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 43. p. 244.): UpoTraKcti opiyofMvoc tmc 'E-ria-Ko- 

TtHs Qit.VfA.a7t'A Ot/TO?, KUl X-puTTTUiV CP iClVTCJ TJjV TT^CiTTiT^) r^tVrHV dUTOU EITld-VfAiav. 

Admirandus ille vir episcopalis loci cupidiLate jampridem accensus, et preecipi- 
tem illam ambitionem suam tegens, diu omnes latuit. But the very words in 
which he is here accused, carry with them his acquittal. For Cornelius clearly 
shows, that he concealed his ambition, which long remained -unknown. Now, if 
this was true, Novalian certainly did nothing from which his desire of the epis- 
copate could be inferred, nor could he have labored to secure votes or have 
attempted to corrupt the electors and draw them into his party. For the man 
who so conceals his ambition, that everybody believes him to seek no self- 
aggrandisement, cannot surely be a competitor with another man for the 
[p. 514.] episcopal oflice. But Cornelius supplies us with still stronger testi- 
mony to the innocence of his adversary. For he acknowledges, that when 
they were deliberating at Rome respecting the choice of a bishop, and Novatian 
declared that he wished some other person than Ccrnelius might be chosen, he 
affirmed, with a tremendous oath, that he himself did not wish for the office ; 

'O yap TO/ \5i(M7rgoTaTOf Kai cT/' le^naiv ipo/^ipuv Tiviov Tria-TiufAivo; ro jM« tTi 

oXcjj 'ETTto-KOTTiif opeytSd-Ai. Egregiiis ille vir iremendis quibusdam sacramentis 



The Novatian Schism. 61 

affirmaverat, se Episcopalum non concupiscerc. — Now, whoever r eitlicr does nor 
attempts anytliing that coiUd awaken a suspicion of his being ambitious, and 
morevcr dechires, on oath, tliat lie haa no desire of the episcopate, can not possi- 
bly be a competitor for the episcopal office. But, some may say : The vilhiin 
perjured himself; and althoufrh he made a great show of modesty, yet he o\>- 
posed the election of Cornelius, m order to secure the appointment to iiinisolf 
To tills many things might be said in reply ; I will mention only one. Nova- 
tian was not a man to whom a suspicion of perjury can be attached; he was a 
man, whom his very enemies pronounced upright, inllexible and rigorous, and 
whom no one ever charged with impiety towards God, or with being of a perverse 
and irreligious disposition. What then could CorneliushsiyQ designed by writing 
to Fabian, and probably to others, that Novatian had long secretly burned with 
desire for the episcopal office? I answer: to confirm a conjecture, and that a 
very dubious and intangible one. He reasoned in this manner : Novatian, on 
being expelled from the church, allow^ed himself to be created bishop by his 
adherents; therefore, he had long coveted the office of a bishop, although he 
pretended to the contrary. How fallacious and unworthy of a bishop such 
reasoning is, I need not here show. There would indeed be a little plausibility 
in it, though very slight, if Novatian, immediately after the election of Corne- 
lius, had wished his friends to create Mm also a bishop; a thing entirely within 
his power to effect. But he postponed all movements for erecting a new 
church, and patiently awaited the decision of the approaching council. And 
after he had been condemned and excluded from the church, together with his 
adherents, he thought there could be no sin in his taking the oversight of his 
own company. The invidious representations of this affair by Cornelius, can 
not at this day be refuted, owing to the want of documents; yet, as they come 
from an enemy, they are not to be received implicitly by those who would 
judge equitably. 

Novatian, before he became a Christian, was a philosopher, and most proba- 
bly a Stoic. From the account Cornelius gives of him, he appears to have 
been of a melancholy temperament, and consequently, gloomy, austere, and 
fond of retirement. Those who forsook him and came back to the Romish 
church, said they found in the man, what Cornelius calls (apud Eusehium, 
p. 242.): Thv dKoivccvmriAv kui \viio(fi\ittVy which Valerius translates abhorrenlem 
ab omni societale feritatem, et Iwpinam quamdam amicitiam. He therefore shunned 
society, and was wolfish towards even his friends; i. e. he was harsh, [p. 515.] 
austere, and ungracious in his intercourse. That these things were objected to 
him with truth, I have no doubt ; for manners like these are entirely accordant 
with his principles. He was led to embrace Christianity by a deep melancholy, 
into which he had follen, and from which he hoped to be recovered by the 
Christians. At least, so we must understand, in my judgment, what Cornelius 
has stated, (nor will any who are familiar with the opinions and jihraseology of 
the ancient Christians, understand Cornelius differently,) : 'Api/)^« tow TrtrrtZTdit 
yeyiyiv o IatavS;, f.o/TJ)Vatf Its avrdv Kai htit.\\<r'xs iv duno ;tp3V5V Uavov. Caussa?n 
alque iniiimn crcdendi ipsi Satanas in ipsum ijigressus atque in ipso aliquamdiu 
commoratus. This in our style and mode of speaking, would be : A deep and 



62 Century III.— Section 15. 

settled melanchohj had fastened on his mind: mid the Christians who knew him 
said, that an evil spirit had got possession of him, and that if he would profess 
Christ, the evil spirit would go out of him ; so, from a hope of recovering his 
health, he professed Christianity. Perhaps his mehineholy was attended by con- 
vulsions. I have not here put a hasty and unwarrantable construction on the 
statement; for it is not credible that Novatian himself, being a Stoic philosopher, 
would refer his malady to an evil spirit. This notion was instilled into him by 
the Christians; who, undoubtedly, were desirous to bring a man of such cor- 
rect morals to become a Christian ; and they gradually made him a convert to 
their faith. Impatient of his malady, Novatian yielded to their exhortations. 
But by the regulations of the ancient church, he could not be baptized so long 
as he appeared to be under the power of an evil spirit. Exorcists were there- 
fore sent to him, to expel the foul demon by their prayers. But they failed of 
success ; and Novatian at length being seized with a threatening disease, while 
under their operations, was baptized in his bed, when apparently about to die. 
On recovering from the sickness, he seems to have hesitated whether he should 
in health confirm what he had done in his sickness, and thus persevere in the 
Christian religion. For, as Cornelius invidiously says of him, he could not be 
persuaded to submit to the other rites prescribed by the church, and be con- 
firmed by the bishop, or be signed, as the term used expresses it. For this per- 
tinacity, and disregard of the Christian regulations, unquestionably the only as- 
signable cause must have been, that his mind was fluctuating between the phi- 
losophy he had before followed, and the Christian religion which he had 
embraced from a hope of recovering his health. Nor can I much wonder at 
this dubilation : for the Christians had assured him of the restoration of hia 
health by the exorcists, who had failed in the undertaking. Nevertheless, the 
bishop, Fahian perhaps, a while after, made him a presbyter in his church, con- 
trary to the wishes of the whole body of priests, and of a large part of the 
church. (See Cornelius, apud Euseh. 1. c. p. 245.) It was altogether irregular 
and contrary to ecclesiastical rules, to admit a man to the priestly office, who 
had been baptized in bed ; that is, who had been merely sprinkled, and had not 
[p. 516.] been wholly immersed in water in the ancient method. For by many, 
and especially by the Roman Christians, the baptism of Clinicks, (so they 
called those, who, lest they should die out of the church, were baptized on a 
eick bed,) was accounted less perfect, and indeed less valid, and not sufficient 
for the attainment of salvation. This also was even more strange and unheard 
of, that a man should be admitted among the teachers and leaders of the Chris- 
tian people, who disregarded the laws of the church, and pertinaciously rejected 
the authority and confiimation of the bishop. The belief of this age was, 
that the Holy Spirit was imparted by the confirmation or signing of the bishop ; 
so that all those lacked the Holy Spirit, whose baptism had not been approved 
and ratified by the bishop, by prayers, imposition of hands, and other rites. 
Ample proof of this is given by Cornelius, who expressly states, that Novatian 
was destitute of the Holy Spirit because he neglected the signing of the 

bishop. Toyrcy tTe ^« tu^uv, rraif av tow ayiou jrvcv/uetro{ tTU^t ^ IJoc autem 

(the signing of the bishop,) minime percepto, quo tandem modo Spiritum sane- 



The Novatian Schism. g3 

turn jiotuit accipere 1 The Roman bishop, thtrofore, committed a gre:it fault 
by conferring the honored office of a presbyter on a man, who resisted tlic hiwa 
of the church, and whom he knew to be destitute of the Holy Spirit. And 
not only the body of presbyters, but also the people, perceived tlie magnitude 
of this fault; and both entreated the bishop not to confer that honor upon 
Novatian. But I can easily see, what may have induced the prelate to violate 
the laws of the church in regard to this man. He feared lest the man should 
forsake the Christian religion and revert to his former errors, of which disposi- 
tion he had perhaps given some proofs. And therefore, to bind him to the 
church, and prevent his apostatizing, he conferred this honor upon him. In 
this opinion I am much confirmed by what is stated by Cornelius, (apud Euseb. 
p. 245.) that Novatian was raised to the rank of a presbyter, immediately after 

receiving baptism: Uia-Tiva-cti x:it«^/w3-« tou Tr^ia^vTifiou ksltu ;^u§/v tow 
iTTia-Ko^roVi (which is not badly translated by Valesius) : Post susceplum baptis- 
man (properly, as soon as lie had believed) Presbyteri gradum fuerat conseculus^ 
idque per graiiam episcopi. Very justly said to be by the favor of the bishop: 
for it was contrary to the laws and customs of the church, to admit a man to 
the office of presbyter almost as soon as he was baptized, and before he had 
filled the office of deacon. This very honorary and unusual benevolence of the 
bishop, retained Novatian in the church, but it did not so heal and confirm his 
diseased mind, as wholly to extinguish all propensity to leave the church. For, 
on the rise of the Decian persecution, when the deacons called on him to quit 
his chamber, where he kept shut up, and perform the functions of a presbyter 
among his toiling and oppressed brethren, he refused to do it ; nay, openly de- 
clared, that the office of presbyter was irksome to him, and that he had thoughts 
of returning again to his philosophy : M« ya^ In 0ovKi<r^st.t rr§£o-/3t/Ts/)cc Itvm 
tf>fi triple yup 'itvst.t <pi\c<r6<pisL5 tpaa-rns. Respondit, non ampUus se velle [p. 517.] 
presbytei'wn esse, sed alterius philosophicc amore teneri. — I have introduced these 
remarks on the life of Novatian. because they show that he was fiir from being 
an evil-minded man, though he was of a melancholy and singular character; 
and they explain the cause of that schism which originated from him. Nova- 
tian wrote much, but nothing that has reached us, except a tract de Trinitate ; 
which is commonly printed with the works of Terlullian, and, a few years 
since, was published separately, with Notes and Observations by Jackson, in 
London. But some learned men contend, and not without apparent reason, 
that it is uncertain whether Novatian was the author of this tract. 

(2) That the African presbyter Novatus, who fled from Carthage to Rome to 
avoid the sentence of Cyprian, became an associate and a coadjutor of Novatian, 
procured him many friends, and with vast zeal and effort cherished and pro- 
moted his cause, is abundantly proved by the Epistles of Cyprian, by Jerome, 
by Pacian, and many others. Novatian, a man gloomy and retiring, would 
have given way to admonition, or would have been easily overcome, had not 
his irresolute mind been excited and fortified by the various appliances of that 
factious, active, eloquent man, an adept at kindling the passions, who was influ- 
enced, undoubtedly, by his hatred of Cyprian, the pnrtizan of Cornelius. And 
necessity also urged Novatus to embrace and defend the party of ISovatian, with 



64 Century III. — Section 15. 

all his might, and even to the establishing of a new church at Rome. He had 
repaired to Rome as to a haven of security, in order to be safe from the shafts 
of Cyprian and the Africans. But it' Cornelius, tiie intimate of his adversary, 
should continue at the head of the Romish church, he himself would most as- 
suredly be rejected and expelled from it. It was therefore necessary for him 
either to seek another asylum, or to cause Cornelius to be deposed from the 
bishopric, or lastly, to establish a new church in which he would find shelter. 
He therefore, more for his own safety, than for the honor of JSovalian, prevailed 
by his eloquence on the Roman confessors, i. e. on that portion of the church 
whic-h possessed the greatest influence and efficiency, to pUice themselves in 
opposition to Cornelius; a thing, which Noiatian eilher could not, or would not 
attempt. Says Cyprian (Epist. xlix. p. 65.) : Novato illinc a vobis recedente, 
id est, procella et turbine recedente, ex parte illic quies facta est, et gloriosi ac 
boni confessorcs, qui de ecclesia illo incilante discesserant, posteaquam ille ab 
urbe discessit, ad ecclesiam reverterunt. The same man, and not Novatian, 
who was a quiet man, though austere and rigid, induced a portion of the 
people at Rome to abandon Cornelius. Says Cyprian: similia et pariaRomae 
molitus est, quae Carthagine, a clero portionem plebis avellens, fraternitatis 
bene sibi cohaerentis et se inviceni diligentis concordiam scindens. He also 
[p. 518.] persuaded Nomtian, a timid man, and perhaps reluctating, to allow 
himself to be created bishop : Qui istic (at Carthage,) adversus ccclesiam dia- 
conum fecerat, illic (at Rome,) episcopum fecit; i.e. he ceased not to urge 
Novalian and his friends, until he prevailed with the latter to elect a bishop, and 
with the former to take upon him that office. He likewise consented to be de- 
spatched to Africa, with others, by the new bishop ; and thus empowered, he 
established, at Carthage and other places, bishops adhearing to the Novatian 
party. Every thing was planned and executed by the active Novatus, and 
nothing or but little by Novatian. These acts were criminal, and they indicate 
a turbulent spirit, thirsting for revenge, and more solicitous for victory and 
self-advancement than for either truth or tranquility. Neither would I become 
the patron of the man : and yet there is one thing, in which he appears to ma 
less culpable than is commonly thought. All the ecclesiastical historians, whom 
I have read, add this to his other crimes, that at Rome he approved opinions 
directly opposite to those which he maintained in Africa: whence they con- 
clude, that he showed his malignity, by this whiffling and inconsistent course : 
At Carthage, say they, he was mild and lenient to the lapsed, and thought they 
ought, especially such of them as presented Certificates of Peace, to be kindly 
received, and be admitted to the church and to the Lord's supper, without un- 
dergoing penance; and this was intended to vex Cyprian. But at Rome, with 
Novalian, he excluded the lapsed forever from the church; and was so austere 
and uncompassionate, in order to overthrow Cornelius. Now whether the 
learned have judged correctly in this matter, I very much doubt. Cyprian, the 
most bitter of Novatus' enemies, enumerates all his faults, real or fictitious, in a 
long catalogue ; but he does not mention this. Such silence in his enemy, is 
alone sufficient, in my view, to clear his memory from this charge. Cyprian 
likewise touches on the opinion, which, after the example of Novatian, he 



The Novatian Schism. 65 

maintnincd at Rome: but he docs not add, that wliilc in Africa he held a diflor- 
ent and opposite opinion: which he would doubtless have not omitted, if .Volo- 
tits could be justly charged with the inconsistency. With an affectation of wit, 
Cyprian says: Damnarc nunc audet sacrificantiuin manus, (i. e. he denies that 
persons who have sacrificed with their hands, should be received again into the 
church,) cum sit ipse nocentior pcdibus, (i. e. when he had himself been more 
guilty with his feet: very bad taste!) quibus filiiis qui nascebatur occisus est. 
Novatus was reported to have kicked his pregnnnt wife in her abdomen. Cy- 
prian would have used other language, if Novatus had been chargeable with 
changing his opinions respecting the lapsed. He would have said: Damnare 
nunc audel sacrijicantium manus, quum pedes eorum aniea osculatus sit, (he now 
dares condemn the hands of sacrificers, whereas before he kissed their feet.) 
This comparison would have more force and more truth. The learned have no 
other reason for believing that Novatus at Rome condemned the lapsed, whom 
in Africa he patronized, except their persuasion, that he was one of the five 
presbyters, who deserted Cyprian at Carthage ; for Cyprian complains of them, 
that they were too indulgent towards the lapsed. But we have before shown 
that Novatus was not one of them ; for it is evident that he had his [p. 519.] 
contest with Cijprian, long before the five presbyters had theirs. 

(3) Of the Roman council, in which Novatian was condemned and ejected 
from the church, an account is given by Cyprian, (Epist. lii.) by Eusebius, and 
by others of the ancients, Novatian was present ; but he could not be 
brought to agree with the bishops, that pardon should be granted to the Chris- 
tians who lapsed in the time of persecution. He had not always held the same 
opinion ; for before his contest with Cornelius, he had decided that pardon 
should be extended to all the lapsed, who relented, confessed, and submitted to 
the ecclesiastical penalties. This we learn, not only from Cyprian, (Epist. 
lii.) but also from others. But, in the heat of contention, as often happens, 
he insensibly became more strenuous than he was before. We are informed, 
not only by Cyprian, but also by Socrates, (Hist. Eccles. L. iv. c. 28. p. 245.) 
that Novatian's reason for opposing the advancement of Cornelius to the See 
of Rome, was, that he held friendly intercourse with the lapsed, before they 
had made satisfaction to the church. Nor does Cyprian venture to deny that 
fact, but only to apologise for it. He says, (Epist. lii. p. 69) : Sed et quod 
passim (here passim is equivalent to promiscue) communicare sacrificatis Corne- 
lius tibi nunciatus, hoc etiam de apostatarum fictis rumoribus nascitur. Ho 
here seems to deny the fact; but a little afterwards, he admits pretty plainly, 
that Cornelius had given reconciliation to the lapsed in case of sickness, and 
had not required of them to do penance when restored to health. Si qui infir- 
mitatibus occupantur, illis, sicut placuit, in periculo subvenitur. And that he 
treated the Libellatici with still greater lenity, is also not dissembled. It was 
not, therefore, a sheer fiction, that Novatian charged upon Cornelius. Perhaps 
some, at Rome, were less cautious than Cyprian in their defence of Cornelius, 
and while they admitted the charge to its full extent, contended that it was a 
trivial fault, and not derogatory to the character of a bishop. By the reasoning 
of these men, the bilious and morose Novatian was so irritated, that he allirmcd, 

VOL. n. 6 



66 Century III— Section 16. 

at last, that the lapsed ought to be forever excluded from communion with the 
bishop and the church ; and in this way he aimed to strip the bishop's advoeatea 
of all arguments in his favor. And having assumed this ground in the heat of 
controversy, he afterwards would not abandon it, lest he should appear vacillat- 
ing and unstable in his opinions. And undoubtedly, Novalus urged him not to 
yield to any admonitions. 

(4) I will not enumerate the patrons and favorers of Novatian, some of 
whom were men of high character, nor trace the progress of the sect. It ap- 
pears from Socrates, (Hist. Eccles. L. iv. c. 28. p. 245.) that the Epistles, which 
Novatian sent throughout the Christian world, had great effect on the minds of 
many, and drew them over to his party. From Eusebius, (Hist. Eccles. L. vi. 
c. 44. p. 246. et c. 46. p. 248.) it appears, that Fabius, the bishop of Antioch, 
and many others, leaned towards his opinions, from fear lest too great indul- 
[p. 520.] gence to the lapsed should produce peril and damage to the church. 
It also appears, that the Novatians collected congregations of considerable 
magnitude, first in Africa, and then in various parts of Europe, Asia, and 
Africa, at Rome, Constantinople, in Spain, in Gaul, and in Phrygia. And the 
causes of this success are noticed by the ancients. In the first place, as 
Socrates remarks in the passage before cited, the severity of the sect towards 
those who stained their characters by sin, procured for it a high estimation 
among those very studious of piety. And then, the gravity, and the purity of 
morals, which most of their teachers exhibited, could not fail to procure for 
them respect from the people. And hence, Consianiine the Great exempted 
them from the liabilities of the other heretics ; and, by a law enacted A. D. 326. 
(inserted in the Codex Theodos. torn. vi. p. 124.) he allowed them to enjoy the 
temples and property they had legitimately acquired. But the subsequent em- 
perors were not equally indulgent to them ; and a law of the younger Theodo- 
sius, A. D. 423, (found also in the Codex Theodos. torn, vi, p. 202.) decreed 
the same penalties against them, as against the other sects. He had previously, 
in the year 413, enacted a severe law against a branch of the Novatian sect, 
who bore the name of Sabbatians or Protopaschites. The name was taken 
from one Sabbalius, who, near the beginning of the fifth century, separated 
from the other Novatians, because he thought the feast of Easter should be 
celebrated at the same time with the Jewish Passover. See Ja. GoiJwfred on 
the Codex Theodos. (tom. vi. p. 222.) From the fifth century, it appears, the 
sect gradully died away ; and yet some slight relics of it were apparent in the 
sixth century. 

§ XYI. The Novatian Doctrines. As to the Christian rchgion, 
generally, there was no disagreement between the Novatians and 
other Christians. But that which especially -distinguished them 
from the great body of Christians was, that they denied a re- 
admission into the church, to all who fell into the greater sins 
after baptism, and especially to those who, under the pressure of 
persecution, revolted from Christ and sacrificed to the gods : and 



The Novatian Doctrines. fff 

yet tliey did not exclude tlicsc persons from all hope of eternal 
salvation. (') In close connection witli this doctrine was another, 
that they could not look upon a church as an3^thing short of an 
assembly of unoffending persons ; persons who, since they first 
entered the church, had not defiled themselves with any sin 
which could expose them to eternal death. And this error 
obliged them to regard all associations of Christians, that allowed 
great offenders to return to their communion, (that is, the greatest 
part of the Christian commonwealth,) as unworthy of the name 
of true churches, and destitute of the Holy Spirit; thus [p. 521.] 
arrogating to themselves alone, the appellation of a genuine and 
pure church. And this they ventured publicly to proclaim. For 
they assumed to themselves the name of Caihari (the Pure), there- 
by obviously stigmatizing all other Christians as impure and 
defiled ; and they re-baptized the Christians Avho came over to 
them, thereby signifying that the baptisms of the churches from 
which they dissented were a vain and empty ceremony.Q The 
other things reported concerning the faith of this sect, are either 
uncertain, or altogether incredible. 



(1) Of the ancient writers who mention and condemn the principal error of 
Novalian, respecting the perpetual exclusion of lapsed Christians from the 
church, some express themselves obscurely and ambiguously, and others seem 
to disagree with each other. It is tlierefore not strange that the moderns, also, 
in treating of the Novatians, should vary in their statements, and advance di- 
verse opinions. Tlii?, in general, is undoubtedly true, that Novatian and his 
adherents excluded for ever from the church, those who fell into sins after bap- 
tism. But there are two things which admit of dispute: First, who were 
meant by the Lapsed? — Secondhj, whether he excluded the lapsed from the 
church only, or also from heaven and eternal salvation ? As to the first point, 
it is certain that the contest between Cornelius and Novalian, in its origin, re- 
lated solely to those who had fallen away in the Dccian persecution. And yet 
it is no less certain, that Novatian, as Cyprian gravely charges upon him, 
(Epist. lii. p. 74.) placed all persons whatever, whose conduct showed a de- 
ficiency of Christian firmness, in one and the same predicament ; and he in- 
flicted the same penalties on the Libellatici as on the Sacrificati and the Thuri- 
jkati. And as the laws of the ancient church considered certain other trans- 
gressors, especially adulterers and murderers, as equally guilty with the apos- 
tates, Novatian, also, seems to have comprehended them all in one sentence, 
and to have ordered the church doors to be for ever closed against others, fia 
well as against apostates. And those writers of the fourth and fifth ccnturica, 
who mention this Novatian doctrine, whether they refute it, or only cx])hiin it> 



68 Century III. — Section 16. 

all 80 understood it, telling u3 that Novatian prohibited all persons, guilty of 
any great fault, from re-admission to the church. And this rule certainly was 
practised by the Novatian churches in those centuries. This is most explicitly 
affirmed by Asdepiade.^, the Novatian bishop of Nice, in the fourth century 
(apud Sncratem, Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 25 ; p. 367.) : 'Extoj tow tTid-va-At koj 

aWai TToWal Kctru ruj ypAtpas ei<riv afxigtixi irpos d-avarovy cT/' Sj vfxiti juiiv Trpof 

rous K\iipi>t'.ui, «,«£7s cTe icai Tovi ka'Uqvs droKKiiofxiv. Praster sacrifieium idolo- 
[p. 522.] rum sunt et alia multa peccata ad mortem, ut loquuntur seripturse, 
propter quce vos quidem clericos, nos vero etiara laicos a communione remove- 
mus. In nearly the same manner, Acesius, another Novatian bishop, explains 
the views of his sect, (apud Socrat. Hist. Eccles. L. i. c. 10 ; p. 38). He says, 
that from the times of Decius, there prevailed among his people this austeram 
legem (dua-rnpov ndvovcs) : Neminem, qui post baptismum ejusmodi crimen ad- 
miserit, quod pecatum ad mortem divinas scripturse pronuntiant, ad divinorum 
mysteriorum communionem admitti oportere. None of the ancients, so fir as I 
know, has left us a catalogue of the sins which the Novatians accounted mortal; 
and, of course, it is not fully known how far their discipline reached, though all 
pronounce it very rigid. Gregory Nazianzen, (Orat. xxxix. 0pp. tom. ii. p. 636.) 
is dissatisfied, because they did not include avarice among the mortal sins, since 
the Scriptures pronounce this sin as great as that of Pagan worship, and declare 
it to be a species of idolatry. But the good man is mistaken. The Novatians 
did not punish vicious mental habits, such as avarice and the like, but acts con- 
travening any of the greater commands of God, or what are called crimes. 
Gregory, also, in the same Oration, states that the Novatians reckoned second 
marriages among mortal sins ; which is attested by Epiphanius, Augustine, 
Tlieodoret, and many others. Neither is this utterly false ; for Socrates, who 
was well versed in Novatian affairs, informs us, (Hist. Eccles. L. v. c. 22 ; p. 
288.) that not all the Novatians, but only those of Phrygia, excommunicated 
the persons who contracted second marriages. This fact suggests to us the ori- 
gin and source of this custom. There were followers oi Montanus still residing 
in Phrygia, in the fourth century, and they condemned second marriages. These 
mixed with the Novatians, whom they admired for their severe discipline, so 
congenial to their own practice, and undoubtedly persuaded them to adopt this 
part of the Montanist discipline. — It is therefore beyond a question, that the No- 
vatian church, in its maturity, refused to commune, not only with apostatizing 
Christians, but also with all persons guilty of the grosser sins. But the inquiry 
still remains, whether the church, at its commencement, and also the founder of 
it, held the same opinion. That there is ground for doubt on the subject, ap- 
pears from the 52d Epistle of Cyprian, who sometimes speaks as if Novatian al- 
lowed a place in his church to adulterers, and to other equally great sinnez's, 
and excluded only deserters of Christianity, or apostates. He says, (p. 74.) • 
Aut si 80 cordis et renis scrutatorem constituit et judicem (Novatianus), per 
omnia sequaliter judicet - - et fraudatores et moechos a latere atque a comitatu 
suo separet, quando multo et gravior et pejor sit moechi, quam libellatici caussa, 
cum hie necessitate, ille voluntatc peccaverit. A little after he adds : Nee sibi 
in hoc novi haeretici blandiantur, quod se dicant idololatris non comraunicare, 



The Novatlan Doctrines. ($0 

quando sint apud illos iidulteri ct fraiulalorca, qui teneantur idololatriai [p. 523.] 
criniiue, secundum Apostoluin. And a little after: Ita fit, ut si peceato alteriua 
inquinari alterum diennt, et idololatriam delinquentis ad non delinquenteni 
transire sua asseveratione contendunt, excuanii secundum suam voeem non 
possint ab idololatriai crimine, cum constet dc Apostolica probatione mcechos 
et IVaudatores, quibus illi communi(.-ant, idololatras esse. One cursorily reading 
these passages, might easily fall into the belief that Novatian tolerated adulter- 
ers and defrauders in his congregation, or did not forbid this class of offenders, 
after undergoing the penances prescribed by the church, to be again received 
among the brethren; and, therefore, that he closed the doors of the church only 
against folsifiers of their faith. But, if I do not greatly mistake, one who shall 
attentively and sagaciously examine all that Cyprian says on the subject, will 
come to a different conclusion. He is not treating of manifest adulterers and 
defrauders, but only of clandestine and concealed ones; and his mode of reason- 
ing is this : It may be that there are dishonest men among the followers of 
Novatian, who, while they profess chastity and uprightness, secretly defile them- 
selves with adultery and fraudulent dealing : and it is most probable, that there 
are such degenerate Christians contaminating all societies of Christians, and, of 
course, also the Novatians. If, then, it be true, as the Novatians maintain, that 
a man becomes a sinner himself, by associating fraternally with a sinner, the 
Novatians must be in perpetual peril, and may not escape the stains and spots 
of sin, whatever pains they may take. That such is the import of Cyprian's 
reasoning, is, I think, manifest from the first part of it : Si se cordis et renis 
scrutatorem dicit et constituit Novatianus, fraudatores et moechos a latere suo 
separet. Had he been speaking of persons, Avhose adulteries and crimes were 
publicly known, there would have been no need of searching the heart and the 
reins, in order to discriminate the evil doers from the other Christians. But for 
detecting and discriminating secret adulterers and defrauders, a sagacity more 
than human, an exploration of the hearts of men was requisite. To show how 
difficult it is to remove all sinners from the congregation of the just, Cyprian 
selected two out of many crimes, adultery and fraud, which are commonly com- 
mitted with so much secrecy and caution, as to escape public notice. There are, 
indeed, in this same Epistle of Cyprian, the following words, relative to adul- 
terers : Quibus tamen et ipsis poenitentia conceditur et lamentandi ac satisfaci- 
en(M spes relinquitur secundum ipsum Apostolum, 2 Cor. xii. Some learned 
men think that these words warrant the belief, that Novatian allowed adulterers 
to expect a re-admission to the church. But, in my opinion, they are most cer- 
tainly mistaken. For, so far is this passage from showing that Novatian allowed 
a reconciliation to adulterers, that it docs not show that all other Christians, 
except Novatians, would receive them. Cyprian says no more than this, that 
8t. Paul left to adulterers a hope of penitence and satisfaction. And, [p. 524.] 
therefore, although the controversy commenced with those unf;iithful Christians, 
who apostatized in the Decian persecution, yet, it is most probable, that the 
Novatian church, from its origin, decided that all persons violating the principal 
Iaw& of God, after baptism, ought for ever to be excluded from the as.«embly 
of the brethren. 



70 Century Ill—Section 16. 

I come now to the other point, on which I stated there was room for some 
doubt. A great number of moilcrn writers tell us, that Novatlau cut oft* all those 
who fell into the greater sins after baptism, not only from the hope of re-admis- 
sion to the church, but liiccwise from the hope of eternal salvation. And they 
have respectable authorities for their assertion, in writers of the fourth and fifth 
centuries, namely, Eusebius, (Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 43. p. 241.) Jerome, (in loviiiia- 
num, e. 2.) and all those who affirm (and there are many that do so,) that No- 
vatian discarded and abolished all penances. But the more carefully I examine 
the best and most reliable documents of this controversy, the more certain do I 
feel, that Novatian was not so destitute of clemency, and that those who so repre- 
sent him, attribute to him a consequence, which they dadute from his principles, 
but which he did not allow. Very many in that age believed, that the road to 
heaven was open only to members of the church, and that those who were 
without the church must die with no hope of eternal salvation ; and therefore 
they baptised Catechumens, if dangerously sick, before the regularly appointed 
time; and they restored to the church the unfaithful or the lapsed Christians, 
when alarmingly sick, without any penances or satisfaction, lest they should 
perish for ever. Our Cijprian decides. (Epist. lii. p. 71.) thus; Extra ecclesiam 
constituLus, et ah unitate aiquc caritale divisus, coronari in morte non poierit. As 
there were many holding this doctrine, they must have reasoned thus: Novatian 
would leave the lapsed to die excluded from the church: but there is no hope 
of salvation to those out of the church. Therefore he excluded the lapsed, not 
only from the church but also from heaven. Novatian, however, rejected this 
conclusion, and did not wholly take from the lapsed all hope of making their 
peace with God. For this assertion, our first great authority is Cyprian, who 
otherwise exaggerates the Novatian error quite too much. He says, (Epist. lii. 
p. 75.) : O haereticac institutionis inefncax et vana traditio ! hortari ad satisfac- 
tionis poenitcntiam et subtrahere de satisfictione medicinam, dicere fratribus 
nostris, plange et lacrymas funde, et diebns ac noctibus ingemisce, et pro ab- 
luendo et purgando delicto tuo largiter ct frequenter operare, sed extra eccle- 
siam post omnia ista morieris ; quaecunque ad pacem pertinent facies, sed nul- 
1am pacem quam quaeris accipies. Quis non statim pereat, quis non ipsa despe- 
ratione deficiat, quis non animum suum a proposito lamentationis avertat? And 
after illustrating these thoughts with his usual eloquence, he concludes thus: 
[p. 525.] Quod si invenimus (in the .scriptures,) a poenitentia agenda neminem 
debere prohibcri - - admittendus est plangentium gemitus et poenitentiae frnotus 
dolentibus non negandus. So then Novatian exhorted sinners ejected from the 
church to weep, to prny, to grieve over their sins, in short to exercise penitence. 
But why did he so, if he believed there was no hope of salvation for the lapsed ? 
Undoubtedly, he urged sinners to tears and penitence, that they might move 
God to have compassion on them, or, as Cyprian expresses it, {ut delictum alu 
luerenl et purgareni,) to wash and purge away their sin. Therefore, he did not 
close up heaven against them, but only the doors of the church; and he belie- 
ved, that God had reserved to himself the power of pardoning the greater sina 
committed after baptism. And this opinion of their master, his disciples con- 
tiaued to retain. The Novatian bishop Acesius, at the council of Nice, in the 



The Novatian Doctrines. 71 

prcsonec of Const;intinc the Great, accordln,^ to the testimony of Socrates 
(Hist. Eceles. L. i. c. 10. p. 39.) thus stated the doetrine of his sect: "Eti 

fAiTXVoUv f^iV if^uprticora; vporptnitVy c'X^rid'a eTi riif dp'iaius /uti Trapa rwi* Itpccff^ 
dXXa iraca tsw Qiiu iKSi-)(jT^aiy to-j Swaf^ivou Kai c^owriav tvsvTij o-yvv/i'pjiy 

afAapr»y.aTa. Ad pocnitentiuin quidem invitniidos esse peecatores, reiiiissioiiia 
vero spem non a sacerdotibus oxpectare debere, verum a Deo, qui solus jua 
potestatemquc habct diinittendi peecata. A similar statement by Asclcpiacks, 
another Novatian bishop, is found in Socrates, (Ilist. Eecles. L. vii. c. 25. p. 367.) : 
aew y.iva> riiv s-uy^dpi^a-t)/ a^aprnov cTTiTpeirovn;. Soli DeO potestatem COIldonandi 

reliuquimus. And Socrates himself, (L. iv. c. 28. p. 245.) obviously explains 
the doetrine of Novatian in the same manner. Let us now rest upon these 
lucid and strong- testimonies, and not vainly strive to enervate them, as somo 
learned men do, by other fiir inferior and Jess explicit testimonies. This, how- 
ever, I must not disguise, that from the very testimonies which in some measure 
vindicate the Novatian sect, it appears, that this species of Christians did no\ 
hold out to sinners a sure and undoubting hope of salvation. They would not 
indeed, have the persons whom the church excluded, sink into utter despair; hut, 
while committing- their case to God alone, and urging them to persevere in their 
penitence through life, they declared that the hipsed might hope, but must not 
feel assured, or that they were unable to promise any thing certain in regard to 
the judgment of God. This surely was sufficiently hard and discouraging. 
One utterly uncertain of his salvation, is not much happier, than one who is in 
despair; for he must pass his Hie in continual fear. — In what condition those 
of the lapsed were placed, whom the Novatians admitted to penitence, is mani- 
fest; they remained through life in the class of penitents. They could there- 
fore be present at the public discourses to the people, for this was allowed to 
penitents ; and in a particular place, distinct from that of the faithful, they could 
manifest the sorrows of their heart, in the sight of the brethren; and they could 
live and converse with their kindred and relatives : but from the common 
prayers, and from the sacred supper, they remained excluded. 

(2) The error of the Novatians, in itself, appears to be of no great moment, 
as it pertained merely to the external discipline of the church ; but in [p. 526.] 
its consequences, it was of the greatest importance, as being in the highest 
degree adapted to rend the church, and to corrupt religion itself. The Nova- 
tians did not dissemble, and conceal these consequences, as other sects did, nor 
did they deny, but avowed them openly. In the first place, as they admitted no 
one to their communion who had been guilty of any great sin after b:iptism, 
they must have held, that the visible church of Christ is a congregation of holy 
and innocent persons. And this principle might have been borne with, some- 
how, provided they had allowed, that salvation was also attainable in the other 
churches, which permitted sinners to become reconciled by penitence ; although 
they might hold its attainment to be more difficult than in the churches denying 
restoration to the lapsed. But this ihey utterly denied, or at least, represented 
it as extremely dubious and uncertain. And by assuming to themselves the 
arrogant title of Cathari, or the "Pure," they charged all the churches that re- 
ceived back transgressors, with defilement, or impurity and, as we have just 



72 Century III. — Section 1(>. 

heard from Cyprian, tliis impurity, thfiy said, arose from their intercourse with 
sinners. How they explained this doctrine, is not stated by any ancient writer, 
nor need we here attempt its investigation. Whether they supposed the viti- 
osity of the guilty, like a contagious disease, communicated itself to the inno- 
cent, or whetlier they believed this guilt and pollution to arise from the sin of 
too great lenity towards sinners; it is certain, they regarded it as of no small 
moment, and indeed so great, that it could deprive men of those divine aids 
which are necessary for the attainment of salvation. That such were their sen- 
timents, no one can doubt, if he considers, that they regarded the baptisms of 
all the churches that re-admitted transgressors, as being invalid, and that they 
rebnptised the members of other churches that came over to them. See CypriaUy 
(Epist. Ixxiii. p. 129.) It was the almost universal opinion of that age, that it 
is by baptism men obtain forgiveness of sin. on account of their faith and their 
profession of it : but that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are conferred, by what 
they denominated consignation, or the Confirmation of the bishop. So taught 
Dionysius Alexandrinus in Egypt, as appears from his Epistle, (apud Euseh. 
Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 8. p. 254.) ; so also Cornelius, at Rome ; and so likewise 
Cyprian in Africa, who uses this doctrine particularly, in the controversy respect- 
ing tbe rebaptizing of heretics, of which we shall soon have occasion to speak. 
He says, (Epist. Ixxiii. p. 131.) ; Manifestum est autem, ubi et per quos remissa 
veccaioriim dari possit, quae in hapLismo scilicet da'ur. And soon after, he thus 
describes the effects of Confirmation : Qui in ecclesia baptizantur (and conse- 
quently have already obtained remission of their sins,) praepositis ecclesiae 
otferuntur, et per nostram orationem et manus impositionem Spiritmn Saiictum 
[p. 527.] consequuntur et Signaculo Dominico consummantur. More, to the 
same purpose, may be found in this Epistle. I acknowledge it to be uncertain, 
whether Novatian attributed the same efficacy to episcopal Confirmation, as 
other Christians did. Novatian himself, as we have seen objected to him by 
Cornelius, had no reverence for episcopal Confirmation ; and satisfied himself 
with baptism only: and Theodoret tells us, (Haeret. Fabul. L. iii. c. 5. 0pp. tom- 
iv. p. 229, 230.) that his followers made no account of unction or Confirmntion, 
and of course, other rites accompanying unction. Nor was it, in my judgment, 
a bad conjecture of Jo. Morin, (Comm. de sncris Ordinationibus, tom. iii. p. 127.) 
that the Novatians, in this matter, followed the example of their master, who 
had contemned the so called seal of the bishop. But concerning baptism, and 
its effects, it clearly appears from Cyprian, (Epist. Ixxvi. p. 154.) that the 
opinion of Novatian was the same, as that of his adversaries: indeed he must 
have attributed greater efficacy to baptism than they did ; and must have sup- 
posed that the Holy Spirit was imparted by it, if he ascribed no virtue to con- 
firmation. And therefore, as Novatian denied all efficacy to the baptisms of the 
Christians who received the lapsed to conimnnion, he denied that any of those 
dissentincT from him had obtained from God the pardon of their sins, or had re- 
ceived the gifts of the Holy Spirit purchased by the blood of Christ. But what 
hope of salvation can be left, to men laboring under the burden of their sins, 
and destitute of the aids of the Holy Spirit? And here I would have particu- 
hirly noticed, that the lapsed, or those excluded from the church for their 



Persecution of Galliis. 73 

offences, were in .1 better condition, according to Nomiians d Vctrinc, than thoso 
Christians who admitted the lapsed into their assemblies. For ht taught the lapsed 
to hope they might succeed in appeasing God, by persevering in their prayers 
and tears, and other acts of penitence: but thoso Christians who disagreed with 
Novatian neglected this, the only ground of safety to them, because they did 
not suppose that they had fallen from a state of grace; and, therefore, they had 
nothing at all in which they could trust. How inhumnne and dangerous such 
doctrines were, and whither they tended, I need not explain more fully. 
Neither is it necessary here to admonish those who may read the ancient 
writers, respecting Novaius and Novalian, to beware of filling into their errors; 
for they ofcen confound the two very different, but associated men, being de- 
ceived by the affinity of the names, Novatus and Novatian. But learned men 
have long since given warning on this point. 

§ XYII. The Persecution under Gaiius. While tliese contro- 
versies among Christians were rife, in the year 251, Deciiis was 
slain, with his sons ; and G alius succeeded him in the govern- 
ment, with his son, Volusian. The year following, the persecution 
against the Christians, which had been less vigorously prosecuted 
during the last years of Decius^ was renewed, either by [p. 628.] 
the publication of new edicts, or by the revival of the old ones ; 
and again the Christians had to undergo many evils, in various 
provinces of the Eoman empire, which, however, they seem to 
have endured with more fortitude than under Decius.Q) The fury 
of the people was augmented by the calamities with which the 
Roman empire was at the time much afflicted, and in particular 
by a pestilential disease, which carried off an immense number of 
persons in various parts of the country. For it was supposed 
that the gods inflicted these penalties on the nations on account 
of the Christians. This opinion occasioned Cyprian to write his 
tract, ad Demetriamim^ in which he attempts to confute it.(^) This 
persecution ceased in the year 254, when Gallus and his son being 
slain at Interamnia, Valerian, and his son GalliemiSj were placed 
at the head of the Roman empire; for Valerian immediately 
restored peace to the Christian world. 

(1) That Gallus again attacked the Christians, and renewed the persecution 
commenced by Decius, admits of no controversy. Diojiysins of Ale.\andri:i, 
(apud Euseh. Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. i. p. 250.) expressly says, that when Gallus 
saw things moving on according to his wishes, he trod in the steps of Decius, 
and persecuted (rot/j hpovi avJ'pai) the holy men. That his Christian subjects in 
Italy, and especially at Rome, were persecuted, is demonstrable from the 57tb 
and 58th Epistles of Cyprian. And that the Christians of Africa were exposod 



74 Century Ill.—Scctlon 17. 

to numerous perils, is manifest from CypriarCs Tract, ad Demelrianum, and 
from other testimonies. But it is not equally apparent, by what law or rule he 
would have proceedings against them regulated; whether he imitated the cruelty 
of Decius, or directed to some other mode of proceeding. Cyprian menlions 
(Epist. Iv. p. 82.) an edict published at Carthage, respeciing sacrifices; and he 
says, that it occasioned the people to demand him to be cast to the lions: His 
ipsis diebus, has quibus ad te iitteras feci, ob .sacrificia quae edicto proposilo 
cclebrare populus jubebatur, chimore popuhirium ad leonem denuo posluhilus in 
circo fui. But as Cyprian, in this Epistle, makes no mention of evils and I'crils 
arising from this edict to the Christians, and writes as if all was then quiet, I 
can re dily accord with the learned in supposing that this edict merely admon- 
ished the people to placate the gods by sacrifices, in order to avert the pesti- 
lence and other calamities ; and that it did not order a persecution of the 
Christians, In this opinion I am confirmed by the fact, that Cyprian does not 
complain of any actual sufferings, but only of the threats of tiie Gentiles : Et 
Gentiles et Judaji minaiiLur et haeretici. All things considered, I am induced to 
[p. 529.] believe that Gallus was not so cruel and unjust to the Christians, as 
is commonly supposed; that he did not, like Decius, come down with fury upon 
them, but only terrified the people who believed in Christ, and ordered their 
principal bishops into exile. And 1 am led to this belief, first, by the language 
used by Dionysius of Alexandria, (apud Euzeh. Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 1.), who 
says that the {lif-'Oi hS'fai) venerable or holy men were assailed by him. This 
language, if I am not much deceived, denotes, not the common people, but the 
bishops and priests. And, as to the evils which these venerable men suffered, 
he uses a mild term, which seems to exclude capital punishment, viz. : "HXaa-sy, 
insectatus est, he chased away. As to any martyrs, neither he nor others say 
one word. And then the occurrences at Rome, in this persecution, as they are 
fully stated by Cyprian in his Epistle to Cornelius (Epist. Ivii. p. 94, &c.), 
strongly confirm this opinion. Cornelius, the bishop, was there apprehended, 
and required to defend his cause before the praetor ; and as soon as the people 
heard of it, the greatest part of them hastened spontaneously to the judge, and 
not only professed Christ fearlessly, but declared themselves ready to lay 
down their lives with their bishop. Prosilierat adversarius terrore violento 
Christi castra turbare. Sed quo impetu venerat, eodem impetu pulsus et 
victus est. - - Unum (the bishop) primo aggressus, ut lupus avem secernere a 
grege, ut accipiter columbam ab agmine volantium separare tcntavcrat. - - Sed 
retusus adunati exercitus fide pariter et vigore, intclh?xit mi'.ites Christi vigilare 
- - vinci non posse, mori posse, et hoc ipso invictos esse, quia mori non timent. 

Quale illud fuit sub oculis Dei spectaculum gloriosum, quale in conspectu 

Christi ecclesia? suae gaudium, ad pugnam, quam tentaverat hostis, inferre non 
singulos milites, sed tola simul castra prodiisse ! Omnes enim constat ventures 
fuisse, si audire potuissent, quando accurrerit properanier et venerit qvisquis 
audivil. And yet not one of this multitude was either sent to prison, or sub- 
jected to torture, or put to death. The bishop only, Cornelius, was sent into 
exile. And no greater punishment was inflicted on Lucius, his successor; and, 
Buch was the clemency of the times, that he was soon recalled from the exile 



Persecution of Gallus. 75 

into which he was sent. On tliis liis rccnll, (which was procured, I suspoct, by 
the money of Christians), Cyprian congratuhitcs him in his 58th Epistle (p. 96). 
There is, indeed, an old tradition, supported by authorities of some respecta- 
bility, that both Cornelius and Lucius were afterwards put to death. This tnu 
dition I could resist, if I were so disposed. This is certain, that Cyprian's call- 
ini>- each of them, (bealicjn. marlyrem) a blessed marhjr (Epist. Ixvii. p. 117), is 
no solid proof of this tradition ; for it appears, that Cyprian used the word 
martyr in a broader sense, applying this honorable title to the Confessors also. 
But, suppose there was no doubt of the violent death of Cornelius and 
Lucius, these two examples of the execution of bishops, would rather [p. 530.] 
demonstrate the moderation than tlie cruelty of Gallus; since it is manifest, 
from the Epistles of Cyprian to each of them, that no one, besides them, suf- 
fered death at Rome. In Africa, Cyprian lived at Carthage without fear, dur- 
ing this persecution ; although, shortly before, he had been demanded by 
the furious populace to be thrown to the lions. Neither was his presence in 
the city unknown by the magistrates; for Demelrianus, that violent enemy of 
the Christians, to whom Cyprian wrote a Tract, a man, doubtless, of no little 
authority, and, perhaps, one of the inferior judges, often called on Cyprian, and 
disputed with him about religion ; as Cyprian himself states, in the exordium 
of his Tract. Neither is there anything in his Epistles, from which it can be 
inferred, that any Christian in Africa suffered death under Gallus. It would 
seem, therefore, that only exile and the milder punishments were inflicted on 
certain individuals. I acknowledge that the learned men, who think Gallus 
was no milder than Decius, have some show of arguments for their opinion. 
First, they observe that Cypj-ian, by divine inspiration, predicted, before the 
persecution of Gallus commenced, that there would be one of great magnitude 
and turbulence. See his 54th Epistle, (ad Cornel, p. 79.) : Spiritu Sancto sug- 
gerente, et Domino per visiones multas et manifestas admonente, hostis immi- 
nere prrenuntiatur et ostenditur. . . Protulimus, diem certaminis appropinquasse, 
hostem violentum cito contra nos exsurgere, pugnam, non talem qualis fuit 
(i. e. under Decius) sod graiiorem multo et acriorem venire. And he writes the 
same thing in his 5Gth Epistle, (ad Thibaritanos, p. 90.): Nam cum Domini in- 
struentis dignatione instigemur saepius et admone amur. - - Scire debetis ac 
pro certo credere ac tenere, pressurte diem super caput esse coepisse, et occasum 
saeculi atque Antichrist! tempus appropinquasse. . . Gravior nunc et ferocior 
pugna imminet. But, to confess the truth, the prophecies and visions which 
Cyprian often announces, are fallacious and of dubious credibility. He was cer- 
tainly a pious and good man, but of a fervid temperament, and not sufficiently 
governed by reason ; and he often rashly supposed the suggestions of his ex- 
cited imagination to be dictated to him by the Holy Spirit. To demonstrate 
this by examples from his life and Epistles, cannot be necessary, since tiiis very 
prophecy of an impending, direful persecution, manifests its human origin and 
its falsity. He predicts, not only greater evils than under Decius, but likewise 
(occasum sccculi et Antichristi tempus) the coming of AntirJirisi and tite end (f 
the world: and even those who may account him the greatest of projlu'ts in 
other things, must admit, that he was here cgregiously mistaken. And when a 



76 Century TIL— Section 17. 

part of the prediction has been confuted by the event, it cannot be doubtful 
how the whole of it is to be regarded. Moreover, Cyprian himself frankly 
owns, that his predictions and vii^ions were ridiculed by many, (Epist. Ixix. p. 
124.) : Qamquam seiam somnia ridicula et vaticinationes ineptas quibusdam 
videri, sed utiquc illis, qui nialunt contra sacordotes credere, quam sacerdoti. 
With these people he is very angry, but I consider them not so wild in 
[p. 531.] their opinions as he judged them to be. But a stronger support to 
those who think Gallus was as cruel to the Christians as Decius, is derived 
from Cyprian's Tract, ad DemaLrianum. That this tract was written in the 
reign of Gallus, can be shown by many unexceptionable proofs ; and in it the 
writer bitterly complains of the very great wrongs suffered by the Christians. 
lie says, (c. xii. p. 2'20.) : Innoxios, justos, Deo caros domo privas, patrimonio 
spolias, catenis premis, carcere includis, gladio, hesiiis, ignibus punis. Nee saltern 
contentus es dolorum nostrorum compendio et simplici ac veloci brevitate 
poenarum. Admoves laniandis corporibus longa tormenta, multiplicas laceran- 
dis visceribus numerosa supplicia, nee feritas atquc immanitas tua usitaiis 
potest contenta esse tormentis ; excogitat novas pa3nns ingeniosa erudelitas. 
Now, if all these things occurred at the time Cyprian was writing that Tract, 
it must be acknowledged, that the times of Gallus were not more happy than 
those of Decius. But it must be remembered, that Cyprian plays the orator in 
this book, nnd rather declames than teaches or discusses. And hence we are 
not obliged to consider all that he states respecting the sufferings of Christians, 
as then taking place before him, or as occurring at the very time he wrote. He 
is speaking, generally, of the injustice and cruelty of the Roman governors and 
magistrates ; and, therefore, the things he states may fiiirly be referred to the 
previous times of Decius. Orators are wont to speak of things of recent oc- 
currence, and things alvvays to be feared, as if they saw them. And that this is 
no groundless conjecture, but a correct interpretation of the passage, appears 
from the fact, that in his Epistles, written about the same time, Cyprian makes 
no mention at all of the sufferings of his people. Besides, the undisturbed 
quiet which he himself enjoyed, while writing that Tract, is evidence that the 
Christians were not then struggling under any great evils. 

(2) At that time a very destructive and inveterate pestilence afflicted a large 
part of the Roman empire ; and it was accompanied by other great calamities. 
Therefore, as was usual for the idolaters, many persons in x\frica declared the 
Christians to be the cause of these great calamities. Among them there was, 
in particular, one Demelrianus. And, as he often called on Cyprian to dispute 
with him, and continued to repeat this accusation, Cyprian undertook to refute 
it in an appropriate Tract. Near the beginning of this Tract, (ad Demetrianum, 
c. 2.), he says: Cum dicas plurimos conqueri, quod bella crebrius surgant, quod 
lues, quod fjimes sseviant, quodque imbres et pluvias serena longa snspendant, 
nobis imputari, tacere ultra non oportet, ne - - dum criminationes falsas con- 
temnimus refutare, videamur crimen agnoscere. - - Dixisti per nos fieri et quod 
nobis debeant imputari omnia ista, quibus nunc mundus quatitur et urgetur, 
quod Dii vestri a nobis non colantur. Hence, as before stated, when the people 
of Carthage were admonished by the edict of the proconsul to appease the 



Persecution of G alius. 77 

anger of the gods with sacrifices, they immediately dcmanaed that Cypiian, the 
Christian bishop, sliould be cast to the lions; because they believed [p. 532.] 
that this man, and the community of Christians over which he presided, were 
the causes of their calamities, and that sacrifices and supplications would be 
fruitless, unless these enemies of the gods were put out of the way. — In this 
discussion, Cyprian is often eloquent and ingenious, but he is not always solid. 
With regard to tiiis Demelrian, who so foolishly assailed the Christians, learned 
men suppose him to have been a man of very high rank, perhaps the proconsul 
of Africa ; and they infer this from Cyprian's accusing him of inflicting many 
wrongs on the Christians, and manifesting great cruelty. We have already, in 
the preceding note, exhibited a part of this accusation. But, as before stated, 
Cyprian, throughout this Tract, discourses in the style of an orator; and, there- 
fore, wliat he seems to charge upon Demetrian, personally, may fairly be referred 
to the Roman judges and magistrates generally. When I read over the exordium 
of the Tract, he does not appear to me so great a man as he does to these 
learned gentlemen. Cyprian does not address him in a modest and respectful 
manner, such as all persons should employ, in their intercourse with men of 
very high rank, and especially with the vicegerents of the supreme ruler ; but 
he bursts forth in a strain of unbridled reproach and contumely : Oblatrantem 
te et adversus Deum ore sacrilego et verbis impiis obstrepentem frequenter, 
Demetriane, contemseram, verecundius ac melius existimans errantis imperitiam 
eilentio spernere, quam loquendo dementis insaniara provocare. What an accu- 
mulation of reproachful terms are in these few words ? Who can think that 
Cyprian would be so delirious as to compare a proconsul, or governor, a repre- 
sentative of the emperor, a man who held the power of life and death, with a 
barking cur, and to call him sacriUgiou% i?npious, ignorant, stupid, insane 1 
Cyprian, although he was of a vehement temperament, could admirably curb 
his impetuosity, and restrain his passions, when occasion required or danger 
threatened ; as appears from his Epistles. And who does not know that the 
ancient Christians, after the example of Christ and the Apostles, approached 
magistrates of all ranks with great caution and respect ? Neither let any one 
imagine that these expressions may have escaped from Cyprian through inad- 
vertence, and that in the progress of the discussion, their harshness is corrected 
by milder and more gentle language. He proceeds with the same virulence 
with which he commenced, and heaps on his adversary all the reproaches which 
an exasperated mind is prone to dictate. Scarcely had he uttered what was 
just cited, when he adds, that Demetrian was one of the dogs and swine to 
which Christ had forbidden the casting of what is holy. A little farther on, he 
terms him rahid, blind, deaf, brutish ; Labor irrltus, ofTerre lucem caco, sermonem 
surdo, sapientiam bruto. Nor do these suffice : Demetrian is still further com- 
plimented with the terms, raging and impious. He says : Conticui, cum nee 
docere indocilem possem, nee impium religione comprimere, nee farenteyn leni- 
tate cohibere. And many more such flowers of rhetoric might be gathered from 
this Tract. Undoubtedly, those eminent men, Baronius, Pearson, Tillc- 
mont, and others, must have read these passages; yet, it io strange that [p. 533.] 
they could have read them, and yet believe Demetrian to have been the 



78 Century III.— Section 18. 

governor or proconsul of Africa ; or, at least, a magistmte of very high rank. 
Either Demctrian could not have been a man of such higli rank, or Cyprian, in 
assailing hin) as a man of no character or worth, lacked common sense, and had 
not the full use of his reason. But these worthy men supposed, they were 
obliged to consider Demetrian so honorable a man, because they believed that 
those great sufferings of the Christians which Cyprian deplores, all proceeded 
from Demetrian : and if this had been the fact, then, doubtless, he must have 
been the supreme judge and proconsul. We have above cited the leading accu- 
sations of Cyprian, at the same time observing, that it is not necessary to refer 
them to Demetrian, personally, because the language of rhetoricians will admit 
of a laxer interpretation. As to my own views, I suspect that this adversary of 
Cyprian, was a man of the same occupation and rank with Cyprian, before his 
conversion, that is, a Rhetorician or Teacher of Eloquence at Carthage. A 
Philosopher I would not venture to call him, because he supposed the gods had 
afflicted the human race with pestilence, war, and famine, on account of the 
Christians ; an opinion incongruous with the views of a philosopher. He lived 
in intimacy with Cyprian, visiting him quite frequently, and discussing religious 
subjects with him. But it is not to be supposed, that this intimacy commenced 
after Cyprian abandoned superstition and became a Christian. I therefore sup- 
pose they became intimate at the time when Cyprian taught eloquence at 
Carthage. The similarity of their pursuits, perhaps, brought them to associate 
together, and the bond which united them could not be entirely severed by the 
change of religion in Cyprian. This fact, moreover, of the intimacy existing be- 
tween these two men, appears to me to afford a strong argument against the 
opinion, that Demctrian governed Africa as the proconsul. For who that is 
well acquainted with Roman and Christian affairs, will believe, that a proconsul, 
the governor of a province, who was bound by the emperor's mandate to per- 
secute the Christians, would pay frequent friendly visits to a Christian bishop, 
and converse and dispute with him familiarly on religious subjects ? Between 
Christians, and especially between Christian bishops and persons of such an 
exalted station, there must have been as great discord as, to use the words of 
Horace, {lupis et agnis quanta sortilo contigii,) "naturally exists between wolves 
and lambs." 

§ XVIII. Disputes respecting the Baptisms of Heretics. This ex- 
ternal tranquillity gave rise to internal conflicts among Chris- 
tians, now persons should be treated who left heretical congre- 
gations, and came over to the Catholics, had never been 
determined by any general rules. Hence some, both in the East, 
and in Africa, and elsewhere, placed reclaimed heretics in the 
class of Catechumens ; and, though already baptized, received 
[p. 534.] them into the church by a second baptism. But the 
greater part of the Europeans considered the baptisms of errone- 
ous churches as conveying forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake, 



Baptisms h'j Heretics, 79 

and therefore they received the heretics who came over to them, 
solely by the imposition of hands and prayers.(') This dillcrence 
of practice, however, had not hitherto prevented their having 
fraternal intercourse. The Asiatic Christians, in councils held at 
times not ascertained, in Iconium, Synnada, and other places, 
changed their former usage into an established law, by enacting, 
that all heretics coming over to the true church, should be puri- 
fied by a second baptism. On learning this, Stephen^ bisliop of 
Rome, esteeming the other custom more sacred, and as being 
derived from the Apostles, excluded those oriental Christians 
from the communion of the Romish church, but not from the 
church universal. Nevertheless, Cyprian^ after consultation with 
certain African bishops, in a council held at Carthage, assentea 
to the oriental doctrine, to which many of the Africans had long 
been adherents; and this he signified, though modestly, to 
Stephen. But so offended v.^as Stephen, that he not only gave 
Cyprian a severe reprimand, but when Cyprian replied with firm- 
ness, and by a unanimous vote in a second council at Carthage, 
pronounced the baptisms of all heretics destitute of any efficacy, 
Stephen declared him and the African bishops unworthy of the 
name of Brethren, and loaded them with severe reproaches. An 
end was put to this contest, partly by the prudence of the Afri- 
cans, who were unwilling to render evil for evil, and partly bj 
the death of Stephen, and the occurrence of a ncAv persecution 
under Valerian ; each party persevering in its opinions.(') 

(1) These facts we learn from several sources, but the most clearly from 
Eusehius, (Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 2. p. 251. and c. 7. p. 253, 254). Those who 
disagreed on this subject, all admitted that persons received the pardon of tho 
sins of their past lives by baptism, on account of that foith in Christ Jesus which 
the candidates for baptism professed ; but that the Holy Spirit is conferred by 
the bishop's imposition of hands and prayers. As I have already stated, such was 
the common opinion of that age. Those, therefore, who received heretics with- 
out re-baptizing them, believed that the persons baptized among heretics, had 
received remission of their sins, because they had professed Christ, and had been 
baptized in his words or in his name; but they denied that such persons were en- 
dowed with the Holy Spirit, because the heretical leaders and bishops [p. 535.] 
were destitute of the Holy Spirit, and therefore could not communicate the 
gifts of the Spirit to others. And, of course, they delivered over such persons 
to the bishops to be confirmed or sealed. But those who rejected the bai)tism9 
of heretics, and re-baptized the persons baptized among them, maintained, that 



80 Century III.— Section 18. 

none but a pure and true faith was by God deemed a proper ground for the re- 
mission of sins ; and, as the heretics taught their people to profess a corrupt 
and false faith at baptism, no remission of sins could be expected from such 
baptism. This argument is pursued at great length by Cyprian^ (Epist. Ixxiii. 
ad Jubaianum, p. 130). I will quote a few sentences to illustrate and contirra 
what I have said. The reasoning of those disagreeing with him, he thus states, 
(c. 4.) : Qua3rendum non est quis baptizaverit, quando is, qui baptizatus est, ac- 
cipere remissam peccatorum potuit secundum quod credidit : i. e. It is not 
necessary to enquire who administered the baptism, seeing the person received 
remission of his sins, on the ground of the faith in Christ which he professed. 
He then replies to this reasoning at considerable length ; and, among other 
things, he says, (c. 5.) : Quomodo potest videri, qui apud illos baptizatur, con- 
secutus esse peccatorum remissam et divinai iiidulgentiae gratiam per suam 
fidem, qui ipsius fidei non habuerit veritatem ? Si enim, sicut quibusdam 
videtur, secundum fidem suam quis accipere aliquid foris extra ecclesiam potuit, 
utique id accepit, quod credidit. Falsum autem credens verum accipere non 
potuit, sed potius adultera et profana, secundum quod credebat, accepit. - - 
(c. 6.) : Quod si secundum pravam fidem baptizari aliquis foris et remissam 
peccatorum consequi potuit, secundum candem fidem consequi et Spiritum 
sanctum potuit, et non est necesse, ei venienti manum imponi, ut Spiritum 
sanctum consequatur et signetur. Aut utrumque enim fide sua foris consequi 
potuit, aut neutrum eorum, qui foris fuerat, accepit. The theology of the early 
divines, who lived before the times of Constant! ne, if viewed generally, did not 
differ from ours; but viewed particularly, and with impartiality, it differed 
wonderfully. Nor will this appear strange to a person acquainted with anti- 
quity. For the few doctrines which make up the sum of the Christian religion, 
had not then been inculcated, so to speak, after being subjected to a manipu- 
lation, and legitimately defined and inclosed in determinate formulas of lan- 
guage ; and, therefore, the individual doctors explained them as they judged 
proper. And the explanation which commended itself to a man of some influ- 
ence and ingenuity, ^^^as approved by many others who were less learned, just 
as at the present day ; and so it passed for the common doctrine of the whole 
church. 

(2) The history of the controversy between the Roman bishop, Stephen, and 
certain African and Asiatic bishops, respecting the efficacy of the baptisms of 
heretics, the writers belonging to the Romish church labor with all their might 
to pervert and involve in obscurity. For since it affords the most lucid docu- 
ments, from which it can be proved that the power of the Romish bishop, 
although he held a very conspicuous rank among the Christian prelates, was yet 
[p. 536.] very small in that age, and that his decisions were disregarded and re- 
pudiated with the utmost freedom; these writers jumble up and confuse every 
thing, partly by idle conjecture, and partly by violently wresting the meaning 
of the ancients, lest, as is abundantly manifest, the truth should too clearly 
shine out and arrest attention. One of them, perceiving clearly that by such 
artifices the truth might be disguised, but could not be extinguished, concluded 
to cut the inexplicable knot, like Alexander, which the patrons of the Roman 



Baptisms brj Heretics. 81 

Pontiff could not untie ; or, to apply tlie sponge, ns Augustus to his Ajnx, to 
all the most important documents of this contest that have reached us. 1 refer 
to Rayjmindus Alissorius, a Franciscan friar, who, in a book appropriately on 
the subject, (printed at Venice, 1733, 4to.) attempted to prove that the Epistles 
of Firmilian and Cyprian, in which they censure the decision of Stej)hen, and 
some other works, were forgeries got up by the African Donatists. But this 
astonishing temerity has been met and rebuked as it deserved, by our Jo. Geo. 
Wahli, in a Dissert, printed at Jena, in 1738, and by Jo. Henry iSbaraka, an ad- 
herent to the Roman Pontiff, in a very learned work printed at Bologna, 1741, 
4to. With the single exception of Jo. Launoi, who boldly lays open this contest, 
although more spiritedly in some respects than was necessary, (in his loth 
Epistle, addressed to Ja. Boileau ;) the Romish writers, who otherwise hold 
moderate opinions of the dignity and authority of the Roman Pontiff", yet study 
to give some coloring to this history, and to extenuate the vehemence of the 
disputants, especially of Stephen, lest they should appear to judge the bishop 
of the first see in Christendom with too much harshness. Those who are sepa- 
rated from the Romish church, exhibit greater fidelity in their treatment of this 
controversy. And yet I would not deny, that they sometimes go too far, and 
are especially faulty in this, that they make Cyprian to have been the author of 
the contest. Into this opinion they were led by Eusehius, who tells us, (Hist. 
Eccles. L. vii. e. 3; p. 251.) that Cyprian first condemned the baptisms of here- 
tics ; and yet, he himself subsequently refutes that assertion. It is most fully 
attested, in my view, that the Asiatic bishops gave occasion for this contest by 
tiieir decrees, and that Slephen was in conflict with them before Cyprian took 
up the subject 

So long as the Apostles of Jesus Christ lived, there were either no sects of 
heretics, or only such as were very small and obscure. Hence they established 
no rules respecting the effects of baptism by heretics, nor did they determine in 
what manner churches should receive those who came over to them from the 
heretics. But in the second century, when by degrees various sects of cor- 
rupters of the ancient religion arose, and often individuals abandoned them and 
came over to the orthodox, the question naturally arose, whether these in- 
dividuals were to be considered as already members of the church, or as aliens? 
Whether they were to be initiated by baptism, or were to be considered as al- 
ready initiated ? And that there was no uniformity of sentiment on [p. 537.] 
this subject, might easily be shown, if it were necessary. Nor could there be 
uniformity in that age, when no one arrogated to himself the office of judge and 
legislator among Christians, and when assemblies of the whole church could 
not be convened, and the heretical sects w^ere of different characters, some bet- 
ter, and some worse. The Romans, whom the other Europeans followed, seem 
to have always held, that reclaimed heretics, who had been already baptized in 
the name of Jesus Christ, did not need a second baptism. In Asia and Africa, 
some received heretics without baptizing them, while others held that they 
must be baptized ; and each bishop followed his own judgment. In the third 
century, the heretical churches being greatly multiplied and amplified, tliis 
question was perpetually coming up, and calling forth deliberation and dis- 

VOL. IL 7 



82 Centurij III— Section IB. 

cussion. For the custom of holding councils having first originated in Greece, 
as lias been ah-eady shown, and quickly extending itself over the Christian com- 
monwealth, those things which had before been left to the discretion of indivi- 
dual bisiiops, were brought under public discussion, and were determined by 
the suffrngcs of the bishops. Some dissension on this subject having arisen in 
Africa, at the commencement of this century, Agrippinus, the bishop of Car- 
thage, called a council, in which it was decided, as Cyprian informs us, (Epist. 
Ixxi. p. 127, and Epist. Ixxiii. p. 130.) ; Baptizandos esse, qui ah hccrelicis ad ec- 
clesiam xcniunl: Persons coming over to the church from the heretics, are to 
be baptized. Many of the African bishops followed this decision, but not all, 
as appears from these Epistles of Cyprian, and as will be manifest from what 
will soon be stated. Besides, what need was there of new councils and de- 
liberations, if all the bishops of Africa had been obedient to the decision of 
Agrippinus ? With the modesty which characterized the early bishops, Agrip- 
pinus and his associates had uttered their opinion, but not enacted a laio. And 
the African church, as will soon be shown, had always regarded this as an open 
question, concerning which either side might be advocated, without danger to 
religion or to fraternal harmony. But, in process of time, when the minds of 
the Asiatic bishops became divided on this subject, and especially when dubi- 
tation arose about the baptisms of the Montanists, many of them assembled at 
Iconium and Sennnda, cities of Phrygia, and in other places, and after mature 
deliberation, unanimously decided, that heretics coming over to the church 
ought to be again baptized. The fullest witness to this fact is Dionysius of 
Alexandria, (apud Easebium, Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 7 ; p. 254). Concerning the 
council at Iconium, in particular, Firmilian, the bishop of Caesarea, in Cappa- 
docia, gives testimony in his Epistle, printed with those of Cyprian, (Epist. Ixxv. 
p. 145). All these proceedings either remained unknown at Rome, or, which 
is more probable, were considered of so little importance, aa to be overlooked. 
But after many years, when Stephen was at the head of the Romish church, the 
scene changed, and w^hat had been regarded as free and harmless at Rome, as- 
sumed the nature of a crime. What occasioned this change, none of iho ancients 
[p. 538.] has informed us. But it is most probable, that in the time of Stephen, 
a contest respecting the baptisms of heretics arose at Rome also ; and that there 
were some there vvho maintained, that heretics ought not to be received without 
a new baptism, as was the custom of the church of Rome. Perhaps these per- 
sons had come from the East, and contended that the rule in their country \va» 
preferable to that followed at Rome. But Slephen, believing the Romish custom 
to be derived from the apostles, not only decided that it should be retained, but 
also that the Asiatic churches, by following a different rule, were cherishing a 
great eiTor. To reclaim his eastern brethren from this error, he wrote thera a 
letter ; and, as they would not obey him, but defended their own opinions, he 
excluded them from his communion, and from the brotherhood of the Romish 
church. Those are mistaken, who suppose that these Asiatic Christians, and 
subsequently the African, were by Stephen excommunicated from the church. In 
tliat age the Romish bishop did not claim to have so much power, as to think 
he could eject others from communion in the universal church ; nor did any 



Baptisms by Heretics. 83 

one hold the opinion, that the persons whom the Romish hishop excluded from 
the communion of /i/.v church, forfeited their privile^ires tin-oufrliout the Christian 
world. These opinions first originated long ulterwards. But at that period, 
each individual bishop could exclude from his communion, or pronounce un- 
worthy of the privileges of fraternal embrace, all those whom he, either justly 
or erroneously, judged to be contaminated with gross sins, or guilty of any con- 
duct inconsistent witii the ohligations of a Christian teacher. But his judgment, 
every one was at liberty to follow or to reject, as he saw fit. By this rule Cy- 
friaii acted ; by this Victor of Rome ; by this IStephen ; and by this many others 
in that ago. Moreover, it is very incorrect to call these private decisions excom- 
municalions ; and to say, e. g. that Stephen excommunicated Cyprian : for the 
two expressions, to excommunicate, and to deprive one of our communion^ are of 
very ditierent import. — But to return to Stephen : Respecting his unkind con- 
duct towards the Asiatics, these few things only arc preserved in the Epistle of 
Dionysius Alexandrinus, by Euscbius, (Hist. Eccles. L. vii. e. 5 ; p. 252.) : 
'ETrtcTaf^Kti /utv oiiv Trponpiv xat Trtpl E*Atvoy nai Trtpl <I>ipfAtKixvou x.ai TrdvToiv Tc3y 
TS OTo TWf KiKlKiic x.xi KawaS'oH.iai nal ysLhATi^i xai vavroju rai(/ e^H? ofAcpouvTcyTf 
eS-KaJv, w; cvS'i EHiivots KOiveevii^cev i la t«v du^h ruuniv diTiav, iTrnS^i} Tcuf 

fnfiTiKuvi {pitTiv) dvu.0x?rTi^ouo-i. Antea quidem (Stephanus) litteras scripserat 
de Heleno et de Firmiliano, de omnibus denique episcopis per Ciliciam, Cappa/- 
dociam, cunclasquc linitimas provincias constitutis, sesc ob earn caussam ab 
illorum communiune discessum, quod ha3reticos rebaptisarent. On this passage, 
Valesius (Adnot. ad Euseb. p. 141.) puts a milder construction, by supposing 
that Stephen did not actually break off communion with the Orientals, but only 
threatened to do it, and never carried his threats into execution; and this opinion 
is embraced by several learned writers among the Romanists, who would, as far 
as possible, excuse the outrageous conduct of Stephen. But, without insisting 
that the language of the passage will not admit so mild an interpretation, there 
is now extant a testimony above all exception, that Stephen actually [p. 539.] 
did break communion, not only with the Africans, but also previously with the 
Orientals and others. I refer to the Epistle respecting this controversy, written 
by Firmilian (one of those bishops whom Stephen condemned,) to Cyprian, 
and published among Cyprian's Epistles, (Epist. Ixxv.). In the first place, this 
whole epistle is hostile in its tone, and shows, that at the time it was written, 
harmony between Stephen and Firmilian^ and his associates, was wrent and dis- 
sipated ; for Firmilian does not condescend to give Stephen the ordinary title 
of brother, but assails him as an enemy and an adversary, with contumelious 
language. Had Stephen merely threatened to break friendship with him, Fir- 
milian should, and would have used very different language respecting him. 
Secondlij.not far from the end of the Epistle, (c. 24.) Firmilian most manifestly 
represents, that Stephen had declared war, not only against the African 
churches, but also against many others, and among them against the Oriental ; 
for he thus addresses him : Lites et dissensiones quantas parasti per ecctesias 
toiius mundi 1 Peccatum vero quam magnum tibi exaggerasti, quando te a tot 
gregibus scidisii ? Excidisti enim te ipsum. Noli te fallere. Siquidem ille est 
vere schismaticus, qui se a communione ecclesiasticcc unitatis apnstalam fecerit. 



84 Century III— Section 18. 

Dum enim putas omncs a to abstincri posse, solum to nb omnibus abslinuisti. 
- - (c. 25) Quid enim humilius aut lenius, quam cum iol episcopis per tolum 
miindum disscnsisse ? Pacem cum singulis vario discordias genere rumpeniern, 
modo cum Oricnlalibus, (so tlien fraternal intercourse with the Orientals was 
actually suspended, and not merely threatened,) quod nee vos latere confidimus, 
modo vobiscum, qui in meridie estis. — Whether the Asiatics retaliated the 
injury they had received from Stephen, and in like manner excluded him from 
their fraternal love, is found nowhere stated. But this Epistle of Firniilian, so 
full of gall and excessive bitterness, renders it most probable they did so. For 
if the Asiatics had remained friendly and patient under the outpoured indig- 
nation of Stephen, this very influential and dignified man would have expressed 
his views and feelings in milder language. 

As already stated, nearly all the learned, relying on the expressions of 
Eusebius, place the controversy with the Asiatics after the African controversy 
with Cyprian, and suppose that the Asiatics only became implicated in the Afri- 
can disputes. It is, therefore, necessary for me to show, that in this they err, 
and that the controversy commenced in Asia, and thence was carried into Africa. 
My first argument is derived from the Epistle of the celebrated Firmilian to 
Cyprian, which has been already cited. We have seen, that when Firmilian 
wrote that Epistle, friendly intercourse with the Orientals had already been in- 
terrupted by Stephen. Now, Firmilian there replies to an Epistle addressed to 
[p. 540.] him by Cyprian, immediately after Stephen had commenced his con- 
troversy with Cyprian. And therefore Stephen had suspended intercourse, (absti- 
nuerat) — to use an ecclesiastical term — with the Asiatics and with Fcrmilian, 
before he assailed Cyprian. Secondly. When Firmilian writes, that he conceives 
Cyprian cannot be ignorant of the hostile conduct of Stephen towards the Ori- 
entals, Pacem cum singulis rumpentem, modo cum Orienialibus, quod nee los 
latere confidimus; when he writes thus, I say, he manifestly indicates that 
Stephen's Asiatic contest preceded his African contest with Cyprian. Lastly, 
Dionysius Alexandrinus^ (apud Euseb. Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 5, p. 252,) — than 
whom a better and more reliable authority cannot be given, most clearly states 
that before Qr^on^ov, pj-ius,) Stephen commenced his attack on Cyprian and the 
Africans, he had pronounced Firmilian and the Asiatic bishops unworthy of 
his communion. The passage has been already cited. 

Cyprian involuntarily became implicated in this controversy with the Asia- 
tics. Having assembled a council at Carthage, in the year 256, the question 
was proposed by the bishops of Numidia, Whether those apparently baptised 
among heretics and schismatics, ought, on coming over to the catholic church, to be 
baptized? Cyprian and the thirty-two bishops present in council, replied. That 
no one could be baptized outside of the church, because there is but one baptism in- 
stituted in the holy church : and they added, that they did not bring forward a 
new opinion, but one established long ago by their predecessors. See the Epistle 
among those of Cyprian, (Epist. Ixx. p. 124.) But, as the number of bishops in 
this council was not great, Cyprian called another shortly after, in which were 
seventy-one bishops, and submitted this and other questions to a second discus- 
sion ; and all the bishops, as Cyprian informs us, (Epist. Ix.xiii. p. 129.) decided : 



Baptisms by Heretics. g5 

Unum bapfisma esse, quod sit in ecdesia calholica consliluluyn, ac per hoc non re- 
baptizari, sed baplizrari, quicunque ab adultera el prophana aqua veniunt ablu- 
endi el sanciificandi salutaris aqucB veritaie. This decision of the second council 
was defended by Cyprian, in his long Epistle to Jiibaianus, (Ep'ist, l.vxiii. p. 129,) 
just as he had before vindicated the decision of the former council, in his Epis- 
tle to Quintus, bishop of Mauritania, (Epist. Ixxi. p. 126.) But as he was 
aware that a diflforent custom prevailed at Rome, and perhaps had heard some- 
thing about the rupture between Stephen, the Roman bishop, and the bi.-^hops 
ot Asia on this subject, both he and the council thought it advisable to commu- 
nicate this decision of the council to Stephen, and to take measures to prevent 
his getting into a passion and breaking off communion M'ith them. The Epistle 
addressed to Stephen, in the name of the council, is still extant among the Epis- 
ties of Cyprian, (Epist. Ixxii. p. 129.) Every person reading the Epistle will 
at once see that it was not written for the purpose of acquainting the Romish 
bishop with the doings of the council, but solely to forestall his anger and in- 
dignation. For they pnss silently over nearly all the many important decisions 
of the council, and mention only two of them, the one concerning the baptisms 
of heretics, and the other concerning priests and deacons coming over [p. 541.] 
to the church from the heretics. Yet, despairing of Stephen's approving their 
sentiments, they wisely intimate, at the end of the Epistle, that they have no 
wish to enter into controversy with any one differing from them in opinion. 
They say, (c. 4,) Cseterum, scimns quosdara quod seme! imbiberint nolle de- 
ponere, nee propositum suum facile mutare, sed salvo inter collegas pacis et 
concordise vinculo quasdam propria qua? apud se semel sint usurpata retinere. 
Qua in re nee nos vim cuiquam facimus aut legem damns, quando habeat in 
ecclesicc adminislratione voluntatis suce arbitrium liberum unusquisque prcepositus 
rationem actus sui Domino redditurus. Now, he who sees the Afiicans Avriting 
in this manner to the Roman bishop, and still contends that the Roman bishops 
in that age had any power or jurisdiction whatever over the other bishops, surely 
must be beyond measure obstinate and perverse, or he must be excessively 
blinded by his early received opinions. If it was true in the third century, as 
the African council assert, that every individual bishop had free arbitriment in the 
administration <.f the affairs of his church, and would have to give account of his 
conduct to the Lord only, then, beyond all question, that which many at this day 
account true, was at that time absolutely fiilse; namely, that God had subjected 
all the bishops to a certain one of them, and that a certain one was to enact 
laws in Christ's name for the church, and that every thing in the church must 
be conducted and administered according to his pleasure. — But to proceed, it 
is clear then, that the African church, although it decided that heretics must be 
again baptized on entering the purer church, yet did not regard the contrary 
opinion as tearing up the foundations of religion. On the excited mind of 
Stephen, however, this moderation of sentiment proved rather irritating than 
sedative; because, doubtless, it provoked him to see the Africans take ground 
with those whom he had pronounced enemies of his church. lie therefore, in 
the name of the Roman church, wrote to Cyprian, or rather to the African 
church, in whose name Cyprian had addressed him, no less imperiously than 



86 Century III.— Section 18. 

bitterly and revilingly, and doubtless in the same strain as previously to the 
Asiatic bishops, declaring- that he would have no communion with persons who 
said the bnptism of heretics ought to be repeated. The Epistle is lost through 
the fault, if I do not misjudge, of those in former times, who thought it benefi- 
cial to the church to cover up the faults and errors of the Roman Pontiffs. But 
the tenor (tf it may still be known, partly from the Epistle of Cyprian, to Pom- 
peius, (Epist. Ixxiv.) and partly from the Letter of Firmillan, bishop of Cajsaraea, 
to Cyprian, which is the next in order among the Epistles of Cyprian, (Ep. 
Ixxv.) According to Cyprian's account of it, it contained many arrogant Ikingsy 
irreulant to the subject, and adverse to his own cause, unadvisedly and un/cilfuLly 
written : and that this representation is not entirely false, an impartial person 
can without difliculty believe; and yet, to be perfectly frank, the same might, 
to some extent, be said of Cyprian's own Epistle, for it employs vain and futile 
arguments, and abounds much in sarcasms. But there is this commendable in 
[p. 542.] Cyprian, that he docs not retaliate upon Stephen, by excluding him from 
fellowsliip, but calls him Our Brother, which titleisa manifest indication of a dispo- 
sition for peace and a dread of discord. Learned men have greatly lauded this 
temperate conduct of Cyprian; and not wholly without reason. But, in my 
judgment, it will detract somewhat from this commendation to reflect that 
Cyprian could not deny to Stephen the privileges of a brother, witliout contra- 
dicting his own principles. Stephen might consistently do so, because he re- 
garded the opinion of the Africans as militating with true religion ; but Cyprian 
and the Africans could not do it, because they judged the opinion of Stephen 
to be one of the minor errors which were to be tolerated. The man must 
doubtless be heartless, and destitute of all kind feelings, who can deprive 
another of the rights of a brother, while he acknowledges him to have erred but 
slightly, and to have not wounded the vitals of religion. — But we will proceed. 
It nppears from the Epistle of Firmilian, already mentioned, that Stephen, in 
his Epistle to the Asiatics, derived the custom which prevailed in the Roman 
church from Peter and Paul, the founders of that church, and appealed to con- 
tinuous tradition. He says, (c. 6. p. 144.) Adhuc etiam infamans Petrum et 
Paulum beatos Apostolos, quasi hoc ipsi tradiderint. But the Asiatics defended 
their opinion in the same way ; indeed they carried their pretensions still higher, 
and declared Christ himself to be the author of their tradition. Says Finnilian^ 
(p. 149.) Nos veritati et consuefudinem jungimus, et consuetudini Romanorum 
corsuetudinem, sed veritatis, opponimus, ab initio hoc tenentes, quod a Christo 
et ah ApostoUs traditum est. In this controversy, therefore, tradition was op- 
posed to tradition, the Asiatic tradition from Christ and the Apostles to the Ro- 
man tradition from Peter and Paul. But it should be remembered, that even 
in that early age, the institutions, which no one was able to trace to their 
origin, were called the traditions of Christ and the Apostles. And Firmilian him- 
self attests, that the Asiatics accounted their custom an Apostolical one, solely 
because they were ignorant of the time of its introduction. lie says: Nee 
meminimus hoc apud nos aliqando coepisse, cum semper istic observatum sit, 
ut non nisi unam Dei ecclesiam nossemus, et sanctum baptisma non nisi sanctae 
ecclesiae computaremus. From this Epistle of Firmilian it appears, moreover, 



Baptisms hij Heretics. 87 

that Stephen had fTre:it]y lauded the dignity of his churcli, and its eminence 
among the churches. Atque ego in h;;c parte juste indiguor ad lianc tam aper- 
tani et manifestiim Stcphani stultiliam, quod qui sic de cpiseoputus sui loco 
gloriatur et se succeseorem Petri tenere eonlendit, super quern fundaraenta 
ecclesias collocata f^unt, niultas alias pctras inducat, et ecclesiarum mult:;ium 
alia a^dificia constituat, dum esse illic baptisma sua auctoritate defendit. Tiiis, 
doubtless, was the part of Stephen's letter, for which Cyprian branded him with 
the epithet proud. I wish we had the reply of tlie Africans to this [p. 543.] 
panegyric on the chair of Peter. But it has been lost, undoubtedly, because it 
was not honorary to the Romish church ; as we may easily infer from the other 
Epistles of Cyprian, in which he expresses his opinion of the rights of the 
bishops. The other topics in this Epistle of Stephen, or rather, of the Romish 
church, I omit, as they throw no light upon history. On receiving this Epistle 
the African bishops did not abandon their cause, but, in another Epistle address- 
ed to the Romish church or to Stephen, refuted all his arguments for tiie eflicacy 
of baptisms by heretics. The learned men who have investigated this history of 
this controversy, take no notice of this second Epistle of the Africans. But no 
one who attentively reads the Epistle of Firmilian to Cyprian, can doubt that 
it was actually written. He says, (c. 4, p. 143.) Nos vero quae a vobis scripta 
sunt quasi nostra propria suscepimus, nee in transcursu legimus, aed sa^pe repe- 
tita memoriae mandavimus. Neque obest utilitati salutari aut eadem retexere ad 
confirmandam veritatem aut et quaedam addere ad cumulandam probationem. 
After a few remarks, he proeeeds, (c. 7) : Sed et ad ilium partem bene a vobia 
responsum est, ubi Stephanus in epistola sua dixit haereticos in baptismo con- 
venire. And a little after: Quo in loco etsi vos jam probastis, satis ridiculum 
esse, ut quis sequatur errantes, illud tamen ex abundanti addimus. The 
Africans, therefore, had replied to Stephen, and Firmilian had the reply in his 
hands; and in his own Epistle he, in part, (retexebat,) reconstructed, as he ex- 
presses it, and in part confirmed the reasoning of it, by new arguments. Per- 
haps some may conjecture, that the Epistle which Firmilian had before him was 
that of Cyprian to Pompeius, or his 74th Epistle, in which he confutes tho 
Epistle of Stephen. But this conjecture must be abandoned, if we consider 
that Firmilian cites from the Epistle which he mentions and examines, several 
things which do not occur in the Epistle to Pompeius. Besides, it is manifest 
from the words of Firmilian above quoted, that he is not speaking of a private 
Epistle of one individual to another, but of a common Epistle of the assembled 
African bishops. He says: Quae a xohis scripta sunt, legi. Vos jam prohasfis: 
Vos respondistis. Stephen was so irritated by this Epistle, that he not only re- 
plied more harshly and angrily than before, but he assailed Cyj.riaii, whom he 
regarded as the author of the African contumacy, with direct maledictions, and 
excluded the Africans from his communion. This also may appear periiaps to 
be news, because we do not find it any where expressly stated. But here, 
again, the Epistle ot Firmilian will show that this is no vain or rash conjeeiurc. 
At the time Firmilian wrote, all communion between the Africans and the Ro- 
mans had certainly been suspended by Stephen. For Firmilian says: (c. 6, p. 
144); Quod nunc Stephanus ausus est ii\ccvQ, rumpcns adversus vos pacem, 



88 Century III. — Section 18. 

quam semper antecessores ejus vobiseum amore et honore mutuo custodierunt. 
And towards the end : (o. 24, p. 150) : Peecatum vero quam magnum tibi ex- 
aggerasti, quando te a tot gregibus seidisti ! I omit more passages of the same 
[p. 644.] tenor. But in the first Epistle of Stephen, which Cyprian refutes in 
his Epistle to Pompeius, Stephen had not proceeded beyond threats; notwith- 
standing Angusline has stated, (de Baptismo contra Donatistas, L. V. c. 25, 
0pp. torn. ix. p. 106,) that Stephen, abstinendos generatini putaverat, qui de 
suscipiendis liaBreticis priscam consuetudinem convellere conarentur. There 
must, therefore, have followed a second Epistle, in which he carried out the 
determination he had formed, and declared non communion with the Africans. 
Moreover, Firmilian testifies, (c. 26,) that in his last Epistle Stephen assailed 
Cyprian with invectives : Et tamen no^n pudet Stephanum, talibus (haereiicis) 
adversus ccclesiam patrocinium pra3stare, et propter ha3reticos asserendos/rcr^er- 
mtalem scindere, insuper et Cyprianum pseudocliristum et pseiidoapostolum et dolo- 
sum opernrium dicere. Firmilian would, doubtless, never have said this, had 
not Stephen written it. But, in his first Epistle, he had not yet uttered these re- 
proaches, for Cyprian would not have passed them in silence in his Epistle to 
Pompeius, if they had then been uttered. It was, therefore, in another Epistle, 
written after the first, that he inveighed so reproachfully against Cyprian. The 
wiser Africans thought they ought to spare no pains to allay this storm, and 
therefore sent a legation to Rome, to restore peace if possible. But Stephen 
forbid the Roman Christians to receive into their houses the bishops of the 
legation, whom he had deprived of his communion, and would not admit them 
even to a conference. Says Firmilian, (c. 25, p. 150,) A vobis, qui in meridie estis, 
legates episcopos patienter satis et leniter suscepit, ut eos nee ad sermonem 
saltem colloquii communis admitteret, adhuc insuper dilectionis et carir.ntis 
memor pra^ciperet fraternitati nniversse, ne quis eos in domum sunm reciperet, 
ut venientibus nor solum pax et communio, sed et tectum et hospitium negare- 
tur! So the legation returned home, leaving the business where it was. I see 
not what could demonstrate more clearly than this fact does, that Stephen ex- 
cluded from the communion of the Roman church not only Cyprian, but the 
whole African church, of which these bishops were the legates. — After this many 
things were, doubtless, said and done, of which no record has reached us. Ste- 
phen, we may believe without testimony, being a man of w'eak mind, endeavored 
to excite the christian world against the Africans; and many councils were held 
on the subject here and there, as I recollect Augustine some where intimates. 
Ai;d therefore Cyprian, that he and his Africans might not stand alone, thought 
proper to look about him for friends. And, knowing that the Asiatics had been 
attacked in the same manner, he dispatched Rogatian, his deacon, with a letter 
to the oft-mentioned Firmilian a man of very great influence, and sent him 
documents which would acquaint him with the whole case. Firmilian responded 
according to his wishes ; and, as his Epistle (among those of Cyprian, Ep. !xxv.) 
[p. 545.] shows, approved of all that had been done and written by the Africans ; 
and, in the severest terms and even with contumely, censured Stephen, who 
had treated tlie Asiatics with the same abuse as the Africans. At the same 
time Cyprian, to prevent any of the African bishops from taking sides with 



Baptisms by Heretics. 89 

Stephen, convoked a council in the month of September, A. I). 256, from the three 
provinces of Africa, Numidia, and Mauritania. The Acts of tiiis council have 
been transmitted to us by Augustine, (de Baptismo contra Donatistas, L. vi. and 
vii. 0pp. torn, ix.) They are extant also among the works of Cyprian, p. 329. 
There were present 87 bishops, and not only presbyters and deacons, but also 
(pkbis maxima pars) a large portion of the people. In his address to the attending 
bishops, Cyprian reiterated what he had before repeatedly declared, that the 
question to be discussed was one of those on which men might differ in opinion, 
without a violation of fraternal harmony ; and he chastised the arrogance of 
Stephen, but without naming him. His words are worthy to be here repeated, 
as they express the sentiments of that age in regard to the independence 
of bishops, and render perfectly certain that no one in that age, not even 
Stephen himself, had ever dreamed of any judge and legislator for the univer- 
sal church. That Stephen himself had not thought of any such judge I confi- 
dently assert ; for, certainly, if he had supposed such high dignity to be confer- 
red on himself by Christ, he would have pursued a very different course than 
he did with the Africans. Said Cyprian : Superest, ut de hac ipsa re singuli 
quid sentiamus, proferamus, neminem judicantes, aut a jure communicationis 
aliquem, si diversum senserit, amoventes. Neque enim quisquam nostrum epis- 
copum se esse episcoporum constituit, aut tyrannico terrore ad obsequendi 
necessitatem collegas suos adigit, quando habeat omnis episcopus pro licentia 
libcrtatis et potestatis sua) arbitrium proprium, tamque judicari ab alio non pos- 
sit, quam nee ipse potest alterum judicare. Sed expeetemus universi judicium 
Domini nostri Jesu Christi, qui unus et solus habet potestatem et prjeponendi 
nos in ecclesise suae gubernatione, et de actu nostro judicandi. At that time, 
therefore, Christ had no vicar here on earth, but was himself (solus et unus) the 
sole and only judge of his church. All the bishops concurred in the opinion of 
Cyprian, and decided that heretics should be re-baptized. The unanimity and 
modesty of this great council, and the friendship between the Asiatics and the 
Africans, I suppose, repressed the violence of Stephen and other bishops; for 
we do not learn that this contest continued afterwards. Dionysius Alexandrinus 
also, as we learn from Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. L. vii. e. 2, &c.) endeavored by 
his letters to bring the mind of Stephen to acquiescence and peace ; and per- 
haps others, who foresaw danger from a continuance of the contest, followed 
his example. For some time, therefore, the Africans adhered to their opinion, 
the other christians not taking offence at their constancy; but gradually they 
went over to the opposite opinion, and finally, in a council which Augustine 
styles plenarium (de Baptismo, L. I. c. 7,) held at Nice or Aries, (for [p. 546.] 
the learned are not agreed as to this council,) thoy universally embraced the 
Romish custom. 

It remains for us to ascertain the precise sentiments of the two parties. 
Cyprian and Finnilian state with sufficient persi)icuity, what they and their 
brethren maintained. Says Cyprian, (Epist. Ixxiv. ad Pompeium, c. 12, p. 142): 
Omncs, qui ex quacunque hffircsi ad ecclesiam convertuntur, ecclesia) unico et 
legitimo baptismo baptizantur, exceptis his, qui baptizati in ecclesia prius fuc- 
rant, et sic ad hareticos transierant. Illos enim oportet, cum redount, acta 



90 Century III.— Section 18. 

poenltentia per manus impositionem solam recipi. By heretics, C3«pmn undei 
stood, not merely corrupters of the true religion, but likewise all who with- 
drew themselves from the principal church, and formed separate congregations. 
And hence, he required the Novatians to be re-baptized on their coming over 
to tlie church, (as we learn from his 76th Epist, ad Magnum, p. 151, &.c.) ; and 
yet he acknowledged that the Novatians were free from all gross errors. This 
pious and good man, but too zealous about his official dignity and oflico, viewed 
all who were separated from the bishop as also separated from Christ, and his 
benefits, and believed that salvation was attainable no where but in tiie visible 
church under the bishops of the Apostolic succession: and this obliged him to 
decide, that there could be no saving baptism except it was administered by such 
bishops, or by their direction and authority. He would surely have entertained 
ditferent ideas about the effects of baptism, if he had not been strangely captivated 
with a love of the dogma of the unity of the visible church, and had not exalted 
extravagantly the rights and authority of bishops. The opinions of his adversar}'' 
Stephen, are not equally manifest. Those solicitous for the reputation of Ste- 
phen, and such, with few exceptions, are nearly all the adherents to the Romish 
church, to whom it appears hard and difficult to believe that any of the ancient 
Pontiff's difft-'red from the modern, or that the church, in the third century, was 
divided between two errors — those in favor of Stephen, I say, t"lls us that he 
taught just as the Romish church does at the present day, not that the baptisms 
of alt heretics, but only of those who in baptizing invoked the names of the 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, were valid baptisms. See Tillemont, (Memoires 
pour servir a I'Hist. de I'Eglise, tom. iv. P. I. p. 419, &c.) and Natalis Alexan- 
der, (Selecta Hist. Eccles. Capita, tooj. iii. p. 691, &c.) who treats this subject 
in his usual scholastic rather than historical manner. But others for the most 
part, to whom the reputation of the ancient Roman Pontiflfs does not appear of 
very great importance, think that Stephen believed all persons baptized in the 
name of Christ, might be received into the fellowship of the better church, 
without another baptism. Respecting these, see in particular Peter AlUx, (Diss. 
de vita et scriptis Tertulliani, c, 4, p. 30, &c.) not to mention Dhndell, Launoiy 
and others. The former party defend their position by the authority especi- 
[p. 547.] ally of Eusebius, Augustine, Vincer.i of Lirins, and Facundus ; who 
say that Stephen accounted no baptism valid, unless it was administered in the 
words prescribed by Christ. But to these comparatively recent authorities the 
latter party oppose other more ancient and higher authorities; and first Stephen 
himself, whose words, in his Epistle to the Africans, preserved by Cyprian, 
(Epist. Ixxiv. c. 1, p. 138.) are these : " Si quis ergo a quaciinquc hccresi vencrit 
ad vos, nihil innovetur nisi quod traditum est, ut manus illi imponatur in poeni- 
tentiam, cum ipsi haerttici proprie alterutrum ad se venientes non baptizent, sed 
communicent tantum." Moreover, Cyprian, who, almost invariably, represents 
Stephen as holding all baptisms administered in the name of Christ to be legi- 
timate, says, (Epist. Ixxiv. c. 5, p. 139.) Si eftectum haptismi majestati ncminis 
tribuunt, ut qui in nomine Jesu Chj-isti ubicunque et quomodocxmqiic. baptizen- 
tur, innovati et sanctificati judieentur ; cur non, &c. And farther, the ancient, 
but unknown author of the Liber de Rebaplismate, who takes sides with Ste- 



Persecution of Valerian. 9J 

phen, nnd whose book is commonly printed with the Opera Cypriani^ (p. 353.) 
with the following,' title prefixed: Non dcbcre donuo baptizari qui semel in 
nomine Domini nostri Jcsu Christi sunt tincti ; seems to decide tiic question 
respecting Stephen's views. I omit other testimonies of less importance. 
These testimonies, I confess, seem to have great weight ; yet I have some hcsi- 
tiition to admit their conclusiveness, because Firmllian, an opposer of Stepheny 
in his P'pistle to Cyprian, (c. 9, p. 145.) states Stephen's opinion thus: lllud 
quoque absurdum, quod non putant qiiwrendum esse quis sit ille qui bnptiza- 
verit, eo quod qui baptizatus sit, gratiam consequi potucrit iniocala IriniLalc 
nomi'ium Palris et Filii el Spiritus Sancti. Firmilian writes what he had found 
stated in the Epistle of Cyprian, or of the Africans to Stephen, and he also 
himself was well acquainted with the opinions of Stephen ; and, therefore, 
his testimony is worthy of consideration. Yet, perhaps, he aimed only to 
explain the point, and attributed to Stephen the conceptions of his own mind. 
To confess the truth, I can believe that Stephen expressed his views only in 
general terms, and did not accurately define them ; and, therefore, they were 
exphiined differently. Men very frequently, at the present day, in theological 
controversies, afUrm and deny, attack and defend, only in a general way, and 
without defining the conflicting opinions. And why may we not suppose this 
to have occurred in the present controversy. 

§ XIX. The Persecution under Valerian. After showing him- 
self kind and indalgcnt towards the Christians until the fifth 
year of his reign, sudden!}^, by the persuasion of Macrianus, his 
bosom companion, a man of very high rank and reputation, but 
exceedingly superstitious, Valerian, in the year 257, changed his 
policy towards them, and ordered the governors of pro- [p. 5-18.] 
vinces to inhibit the meetings of Christians, and to send their 
bishops and teachers into exile.(') Bnt these milder mandates 
rather animated than disheartened the Christians, who liad been 
accustomed previously to greater evils. Therefore, in the follow- 
ing year he issued a much severer edict, in the execution of 
which the magistrates put to death no small number of Christians 
throughout the provinces of the Roman empire, and frequently in- 
flicted on them punishments worse than death. (") Eminent among 
those that fell in this persecution were Cyprian, the celebrated 
bishop of Carthage, who was beheaded ; and Sixtus, the Romish 
prelate, who is said to have been crucified ; and Laurence, the Ro- 
man deacon, famous among the martyrs, who is :5aid to have been 
roasted to death on a slow fire : some, however, refer this last mnr- 
tyi'domtothe Decian period. But Valerian being taken captive in 
a war with Sapor, king of Persia, his son Gallienm, by a rescript 
addressed to the provincial governors in the year 260, restored full 



Ife Century Ill.—Scction 19. 

peace to the Cliristians, after four years of suffering. (^) Yet they 
were not placed in entire security ; for the ancient laws of the 
Emperors against them were not abrogated, and, therefore, such 
of the governors as were so dis|)osed, could put those Christians 
to death who were regularly accused and acknowledged their 
faith, if they refused to sacrifice to the gods.Q 

(1) Respecting the clemency of Valerian to the Christians in the iirst 
years of his reign, and the author of the subsequent change in his feelings 
towards them, the most important witness we have is Dionysius Alexandrinus, 
in his Epistle to Hermammon, the latter part of which is preserved by Euse- 
hius, (Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 10. p. 255.) But as Eusebius cites two passages 
from this Epistle, in one of which Dionysius does not mention the name of the 
person who induced Valerian to persecute the Christians, and in the other tell.s 
us that Macrianus advised the Emperor to this course, a dispute has arisen 
among the learned, whether this persecution is to be traced to one man as its 
author, or to two. In the first passage Dyonisiiis says: 'A-rza-Kiuaa-ua-d-ai (Te Trapi- 
TTiiTiV dvrif S'l^ao-H.ctKoz xai riov ot' AiyvTTTtv /udyaiv dp^ia-vvdyojyoi, tou; /uiv 
xa^dp^vi Kui oa-iovs uvSp'xs ktivvvs-B-ai xat J'tcjKiTd-ati KiXiucev . Vcrum mao-ister 
et Archisynagogus magorum Aegypti ei (Valeraino) tandem persuasit, utab hoc 
instituto descisceret, jubens, ut castos quidem et sanctos viros persequeretur 
atque occideret. But a little after he snysi 'O f^h yap o'ystxe^/atvdf in TaZru. 

vTTd Tourov (MoKStavzu) 7rpca.^^ils cig v^pni Kai ovaS'ia-fji.ovs iaS'od'as. Nam Vale- 
[p. 549. J rianiis quidem, qui ad hujusmodi facinora a Macrinno (for he is the per- 
son spoken of,) impulsus fiierat, contumeliis et opprobriis fuit expositus et de- 
ditus. It is, therefore, made a question, whether this Macrianus is the same per- 
son who was before called Chief of the Synagogue of the Egyptian Magicians, 
or a different person. Not a few, deeming it scarcely credible, that so distin- 
guished a man as Macrianus was, an intimate with the emperor, and hold- 
ing the highest position, " than whom," (as Tremellius Pollio says in his 
Gallienus, Scriptor. Hist. August, tom. ii. 189.) "none of the generals were 
deemed more wise, none more competent for business, none more opulent," 
should be prefect of the Egyptian Magicians, — have supposed this Magician of 
Dionysius to be a difTei'cnt person from ^Macrianus ; and, of course, that there 
were two persons who prompted Valerian to show cruelty to the Christians. 
Among these authors, Gisbert Cuper, (in his Notes on Lactaniius de morti- 
bu3 persequutorum, p. 152.) goes so far .'is to suppose this Magician was a 
Jew, infering it from the Jewish words J'lJ'dtrx.a^os and 'Ap)(^i<rvvdya>yoc applied 
to him ; and Ja. Basnage in vain attempted to confute that idea, while he 
himself did not believe Macrianus and the Magician to be the same person, 
(see Letters de Critique, Histoire, Litterature par M. Cuper, p. 386, 390, Amst. 
1742, 4to.) But, as Dionysius most explicitly states, that Macrianus recom- 
mended the persecution to the emperor, and that Valerian received the sad 
reward of his docility, while he adds nothing which can lead to the suppo- 
siiion that Macrianus had an associate in the transaction, the supposition haa 



Persecution of Valerian. 93 

not the least probability; on the contrary, wo must believe that Dionysiug 
designated one and the same person in this two-fold manner. Nor will this 
interpretation be weakened by the two epithets above mentioned. The first 
of them, ^tS'aTKaXoi, magis/cr, should not he referred to the Magicians, us is 
manifest from the Greek. Valesius has not expressed properly the meanin"- of 
Dionysins; and this has occasioned some, who did not inspect the Creek, to 
fall into a mistake. He should have rendered it {Magister ejus) his (Valerian's) 
master, and chief of the synagogue, 4'"C. For this word undoubtedly has reference 
to Valerian, who yielded to the opinions of Macrianus in every thing, and al- 
ways defered to him as to a master. Valerian himself, in a speech to the 
senate, said: Ego bellum Persicum gerens, Macriano tolam reinpuhlicam tradidi. 
See Trehellius Pollids 30 Tyrants, (in the Scriptor. Historia3 Augusta, torn. ii. 
p. 288.) And as to the title Chief (f the Synagogue of the Egijplian Magicians, 
it is a sneer of Dionysius at Macrianus, and not the title of bis office or posi- 
tion in society. As Macrianus was exceedingly devoted to magic, and delighted 
greatly in magical sacrifices, according to Dionysius, he represents him as quali- 
fied, by his skill in the art, to fill the office of Chief or President of the Egyp- 
tian Magicians. As to the motive which led Macrianus to inflame the Empe- 
ror's mind against the Christians, Dionysius states it to have been this, that he 
knew there were persons among them who could frustrate the ma- [p. 550.] 
gical rites, and destroy their eflects by a word or a nod. Being himself greatly 
devoted to magic, he " prompted the emperor to celebrate impure rites of 
initiation, abominable incantations, and execrable sacrifices ;" for example, " to 
immolate infants, and explore the entrails of new-born children." See Diony- 
sius, as quoted by Eusebius, (L. vii, c. 10.) But he well knew, not only that 
the Christians universally held these nefiirious mysteries in abhorrence, but also 
that some of them possessed the power of disconcerting and controlling de- 
mons, so that they could not manifest their presence by oracular responses 
and the other signs. Says Dionysius: Kai yap iKriv kui iicrAv 'Uavci n-upovrts 

xai ofiwfAiVOty Hill /uoviV t/wrveovTt; icai fi^i^yofMVOi, i'lAaKiS^atrat ras tuv dXn^piuv 

ioLifAQvav tri^ivhas. Erant enim et sunt etiamnum (inter nos) ejusmodi, qui 
vel praesentia et aspectu suo, et insufflantes duntaxat ac vocem edentes, dsemo- 
num praestigias disturbare possunt. And, therefore, he prevailed on the em- 
peror to endeavor to extirpate a sort of men injurious and terrible to the art 
he loved and to the demons he consulted. But, we may suppose, the good 
man here gives us his conjectures rather than what he knew to be facts. Res- 
pecting the power of the ancient Christians to confound and put to silence 
demons and their servants and idols, of wbich many others also speak, I shall 
not go into any discussion : but this is easily perceived, we ought not to look 
there for the cause of Macrianus' hostility to the Christians. If he had believed 
that Christians possessed such power, that they could control the demons he 
loved and worshipped,! think he would not have dared to assail them, but would 
rather have feared and stood in awe of them. For, why cannot they who have 
the demons under their power, and who control them at their pleasure, also 
bring, if they choose, various evils upon the worsliipi)ers of demons ! And who 
but a madman, destitute of reason, would voluntarily and eagerly worship bo- 



94 Century IIL— Section 19. 

ings whom he knew to be piralyzed and stript of all power by others more 
powerful 1 Whoever seeks for himself a lord, will, if he be in his senses, pre- 
fer the more powc-fiil to one of less power. But suppose Macrianus was so 
insane as to think the demons and their worship frustrated by the Christians, he 
might have forestalJed the evil much more easily than by a resort to edicts, and 
laws and punishments : for, by a little vigilance he could have excluded all 
Christians from being present at 'lis infernal rites and mysteries. Let us eon- 
cede, what is not to be denied, that the ancient Christians often supposed their 
enemies to reason just as they themselves would, and so attributed to thera 
designs very forei^a from their real ones. I think his superstition alone was 
sufficient to prompt Maori., nus to inflame the emperor against the Christians. 
And I am the more incH ed to think so, because I learn from Trehellius 
Pollio, (Thirty Tyrains, c. 14, in the Histor. Augustse, torn. ii. p. 297.) that this 
WAS a hereditary disease in the family of the Macriani. For all the males and 
females of this family wore an image of Alexander the Great on their rings, 
[p. 651.] their garments, and their ornaments, influenced by a peurile conceit of 
the vulgar, [juvari in omni actu suo, qui Alexandrum expressum in aiiro gestila- 
renl vet argenlo.) that w^hoever carried a likeness of Alexander impressed on 
gold or silver, would be aided in all their acts. Who can wonder that a man 
who could promise him elf success from a likeness of Alexander the Macedo- 
nian, should have been extravagantly attached to the Roman Gods and their 
worship, and have wished evil to the enemies of his country's religion ? 

The first assault of Valerian upon the Christians was such as could be 
endured ; as appears from the Acts of Cyprian, and of Dionysius AlexandrinuSy 
(apud Euseh. Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 11). For he merely decreed the banish- 
ment of all bishops and presbyters who w-ould not worship the Roman gods, 
and prohibited the religious assemblies of Christians. Cyprian was exiled to 
Carubia, by the proconsul Paternus, after refusing to sacrifice to the gods; and 
Dionysius was sent by 1'>c praefect Aemilius to a place called Cephro, in the 
parts of Libya. But let the proconsul Paternus state to us the pleasure and the 
mandate of the emperor, according to the Acta Crjpriani, (in Theod. Ruinart, 
Acta Martyr, sincera et selecta, p. 216). When Cijprian was arraigned before him, 
Paternus thus addressed him: Sacratissimi Imperatores Valerianus et Gallienus 
litteras ad me dare dignati sunt, quibus praeceperunt eos, qui Romanam religio- 
nem non colunt, debere Romanas ca3reraonias recognoscere. Cyprian had no 
sooner declared that he coa'd not obey this mandate, than the proconsul pro- 
nounced sentence of banishment upon him, and then proceeded: Non solum de 
episcopis, verum etiara de presbyteris mihi scribere dignati sunt. From this it 
is very manifest that the emneror's mandate extended only to the bishops and 
presbyters; against the dea^O' s and the people nothing was decreed. Neither 
was capital punishment ordered for bishops and presbyters, but merely exile. 
Lastly, the proconsul added : Praeccperunt etiam, no in aliquibus locis concilia- 
bula fiant, nee ccemeteria ingrediantur. Si quis itaque hoc tam salubre prcecep- 
tum non observaverit, capite plectetur. Capital punishment, then, was enacted 
against those who persisted either in holding religious assemblies, or in attend- 
ing them. The emperors prohibited first in general, all religious assemblies, 



Persecution of Valerian. 95 

which they dcsig-nate as Conciliabula ; and then, in particular, tlie convintions 
which were held in Cemeteries. By this term, it is well known, the phicca were 
designated in which the Cliristians interred their dead ; and as there were fre- 
quently martyrs and confessors among their dead, they assembled at these 
Cemeteries on certain days for religious worship, and to commemorate those 
holy men. Perhaps, also, at other times the Christians might assemble in their 
Cemeteries to offer prayers at the sepulchres of the saints and martyrs. And .13 
they commonly came away more resolute and more determined to endure every 
evil for Christ's sake, it is not strange that such as wished the cxtii:ction of the 
Christians should oppose their resorting to these places. Here, then, we have 
the whole contents of the first edict of Valerian against the Christians : [p. 552.] 
and with this account fully accords all that Dionysius states, (apud Euseb. L. 
vii. c. 11.) respecting his own sufferings and those of his colleagues. Aemilian, 
the prefect of Egypt, said to them; Mittemini in partes Libya) ad locum 
Cephro. Hunc enim locum jussu Angiisiorum nostrorum elegi. Nullatenus 
autem licebit vobis conventus agere, aut ea quae vocantur cocmeteria adire. 
Here, however, learned men oppose to us not a few examples of persons, who, 
4n this first persecution of Valerian, were either put to death, or thrown into 
prisons, or bastinadoed, or condemned to the mines. Among other proofs ad- 
duced is the 77th Epistle of Cyprian, addressed ad mariyres in meiallis 
cojistilutos, in which he represents (p. 158.) a part of the people of his charge, 
as having already gone forth to receive from the Lord the crown of their 
merits, by the consummation of their martyrdom, and a part as remaining still 
within the bars of their prisons, or at the mines in chains : and he then states, 
that not only bishops and presbyters, but also many of the people, and among 
them virgins and boys, were bastinadoed, fettered, and thrust into the mines : 
Denique exemplum vcstrum secuta multiplex plcbis portio confessa est vobis- 
cum pariter et pariter coronata est, conncxa vobis vinculo fortissimae caritatis, et 
a praepositis suis nee carcere, nee metallis separata. Cujus numero nee virginea 
desunt. - - In pueris quoque virtus major actate annos suos confessionis laudo 
transcendit, ut martyrii vestri beatum gregem et sexus et cetas omnis ornaret. 
These examples, I say, learned men have cited, to show that the first rescripts 
of Valerian and his son were more cruel than we have represented, and that 
not only bishops and presbyters, but Christians of every order and sex were 
subjected to heavy penalties. But whence this severity on many, notwithstand- 
ing the law was not very rigorous, may be learned from the latter part of the 
imperatorial mandate. For this ordained capital punishment against all who 
either held assemblies or entered the cemeteries. All, therefore, bishops and 
others, who suffered death, bastinadoing, imprisonment, or other punisjmients 
worse than exile, undoubtedly incurred these penalties because they would hold 
meetings contrary to the will of the emperor, and were caught in the cemeteries. 
For, as we shall soon see, the major part of the Christians were bold in violat- 
ing the imperatorial mandates. This is fully confirmed by the 82d Ei)istlc of 
Cyprian, ad Successum, (p. 165.) where he writes: Xystum autem in cimilcrio 
animadversum sciatis octavo Iduum Augustarum die, et cum co Diaconos qua- 
tuor. Scd et huic persecutioni quotidie insistunt pra^fccti in urbe, ut si qui sibi 



96 CentuvT/ III.— Section 19. 

oblati fucrint (in the cemeteries, undoubtedly,) animndvertantur et bona eorum 
fisco viiidieentur. The proconsul of Africa, doubtless, had appreliended a great 
multitude of Christians of both sexes and of all classes, who were assembled 
for the purpose of religious worship ; as may be inferred from the mention of 
[p. 653.] boys and virgins. To condemn such a mass of persons to death, as 
the Letter of the emperor required to be done, appeared to the proconsul too 
hard and cruel ; and, therefore, he ordered only a few to be executed to terrify 
the rest, and the others he ordered to be bastinadoed, and to be sent in chains 
to the mines. 

This persecution by Valerian had so much in it new and diverse from the 
former persecutions, that I cannot but wonder at some learned men, who tell us 
that Valerian proceeded against the Christians according to the laws of the 
earlier emperors. First, the ancient laws required that there should be an ac- 
cuser, but now no accuser was needed, for the governors themselves had inqui- 
sitorial powers. The proconsul Paternus required Cyprian to dechire who were 
his presbyters; and w^heu he refused to do it, the proconsul said: Ego hodie 
in hoc loco exquiro: A me invenientur. See the Acta Cypriani in RuinarCs 
Acta martyr, p. 216. — Secondhj, the emperor's law* ordered the punishment, not 
of all professed Christians, but only of the bishops and presbyters. No one 
compelled i\\e. feople io change their religion and worship the gods: only the 
pastors of the flocks were required to adore and pay homage to the gods. 
When Dionysius replied to the prefect Aemiiius, who urged him to the worship 
of the gods, that he worshipped the one God, the Creator of all things, the pre. 
feet said : The emperors allow you to do so, provided you also worship the 
gods : Quis vero vos prohibet, quo minus et hunc, si quidem Deus est, cum iis, 
qui natura Dii sunt, adoretis. This we have from Dionysius himself, (apud 
Euseh. Hist. Eccles. L. vii, c. 11 ; p. 258). — Lastly, those who declared that they 
would not worship the gods, were not put to death, but were only torn from 
their flocks, and sent into exile. The people, thus bereaved of their guides and 
teachers, were forbidden by the emperor to assemble and hold meetings; and, 
as I think, for this among other reasons, that they might not choose new" teach- 
ers and bishops in the place of those exiled ; for the Romans knew that such 
functionaries could not be created except by election in a popular assembly. 
And the emperor hoped, if their conventions were abolished and their teachers 
removed, their religion itself would gradually become extinct among the com- 
mon people, and the ancient superstition would occupy its place. 

(2) In the second year of this persecution. Valerian issued another and much 
severer edict, which, through nearly all the provinces of the Roman empire, 
caused the death of numerous Christians, and particularly of bishops and pres- 
byters, and exposed others to severe punishments of every sort. When vague 
and uncertain rumors of this new imperial law reached Africa, Cyprian .sent 
messengers to Rome to learn the truth respecting it ; and from their report ho 
gives the following summary view of the new edict, (Epist. Ixxxii, p. 165.) : 
Quae autem sunt in vero ita se habent : Rcscripsissc Valerianum ad Senatum, 
(I) ut episcopi et presbyteri et diaconi incontinenti animadvertantur. The dea- 
[p. 554.] cons had before been exempted, but now they are added to the bishops 



Persecutions of Valerian. 97 

•and presbyiers; undoubtedly, because tl;c enemies of the Christians had learned 
that they supplied the place of the bishops and presbyters, and carried relief to 
those in captivity. By this law, therefore, all the men of tiie holy order, if they 
refused to pay honor and worship to the gods, were to be inunediately put to 
death ; that is, they were to be led from the tribunal to the place of execution, 
without being for a time kept in prison. This is strikingly illustrated in the death 
of Cyprian himself, as described in his Ada, (apud Ruinarlum, et alios). When 
brought before the proconsul, he was first asked whether he was a papa or 
bishop of Christians ; and he confessed that he was. He was then commanded 
cccremoniari, that is, to worship the gods in the Roman manner ; which he per- 
sisted in refusing to do. Then sentence of death was passed upon him; and, 
after sentence, he was conducted from the praetorium to the place of execution, 
and there beheaded. This was the uniform mode of proceeding against men in 
holy orders, during the Valerian persecution. The policy of the law I can easily 
see. It was scarcely possible to prevent the people from flocking to their teach- 
ers lodged in prison ; and their last words and exhortations had a wonderful 
effect upon the minds of the people, animating them, and preparing them to 
meet death voluntarily and cheerfully for Christ's sake; of this there are extant 
many examples. The kind of capital punishment to be inflicted, was not pre- 
scribed by the law, but was left to the discretion of the magistrate. Hence, we 
perceive that the officers of Christian churches were put to death in this perse- 
cution in a diversity of modes. — (II.) Senatores vero et egregii viri et equites 
Romani, dignitate amissa, etiam bonis spolientur, et si ademptis facultatibua 
Christian! esse perseveravcrint, capite quoque multentur, matronas vero ademp- 
tis bonis in excilium relegentur. There were, then, among the Christians of 
that age, persons of both sexes, who were of the first rank and the highest re- 
spectability; for, otherwise, this part of the law would have been superfluous. 
What the emperor decreed respecting matrons, must, doubtless, be construed 
in the same manner as the decree respecting senators and knights : viz. that 
they should first be stripped of their property, and then, if they continued to be 
Christians when their goods were confiscated, they were to be sent into exile. 
It is most probable that both, after the first part of the sentence, were sent to 
prison, and time allowed them to deliberate, whether they would return to 
idolatry or persevere in the Christian religion. — (III.) Cajsariani autera quicun- 
<j«e vel prius confessi fuerant, vel nunc confess! fuerint confiscentur et vincti in 
Caesarianas possessiones descripti mittentur. Subjecit etiam Valerianus Impera- 
tor orationi sua3 exemplum litterarum, quas ad prcesides provinciarum de nobis 
fecit : quas litteras quotidie speramus venire. The Cccsariani were, undoubt- 
edly, the persons whom St. Paul (Philip, iv. 22.) calls: tous U m naiTapo^ oiKia;, 
the domestics, the servants, the freedmen, belonging to the emperor's house- 
hold, and residing in his palace. Why the emperor particularized them, we may 
learn from Dionysius, (apud Euseb. L. vii. c. 10; p. 256.) who tells us that Va- 
lerian's house or family, at the commencement of his reign, was com- [p. 655.] 
posed, in great part, of Christians: TSi o o/xof dvroy d-iCfO-t/icZf Trtrrx^fmroy x.clx 
«? tK.K.\n7ix 0£oo. Tota ejus familia piis hominibus abundabat, ac Dei ecclesia 
esse videbatur. Some of these servants of Caesar, therefore, had already, in the 

VOL. IL 8 



98 Century Ill—Section 19. 

beginning of the persecution, frankly acknowledged that they were ChrlstLing, 
and refused to apostatize from Christ : nor had this proved injurious to theiDy 
because the first mandates of the emperor reached only the bishops and presby- 
ters among the Christians. But now, both those who had before confessed, 
and those who should liereafter confess, were condemned by one and the same 
law. Provided they still refused to renounce the Christian worship, the em- 
peror commanded them to be confiscated ; that is, not only their estates and 
property, but also their persons were to be transferred to the public treasury, 
and they were to be distributed in bonds over the domains, or the estates and 
farms of the emperor, to perform servile labor there. Respecting the people, 
or the Christians of the middle and lower ranks, the emperor decreed nothing. 
These, therefore, were out of danger, and could, without hazard, attend the 
execution of those put to death under this law. The Acts of Cyprian (ed. Rui- 
narl, § 5. p. 218.) tell us, that when the proconsul pronounced sentence of death 
on Cyprian, (tia-ba frairum) a throng of the brethren were present ; and, after 
the sentence was pronounced, this throng cried out ; Et nos cum ipso decole- 
mur. Propter hoc tumultus fratrum exortus est, et multa turba eum prosecuta 
est. In this throng also there was a presbyter and several deacons, and one 
8ub-deacon, who ministered to the dying man. Yet, neither on these, nor on 
the Christian people that fearlessly accompanied their bishop to execution, did 
any one lay a hand, or offer them any violence. More examples are not needed. 
We know, indeed, from Dionysius, (apud Euseh.) and from other sources, that 
a considerable number of the common people either lost their lives or were 
eeverely punished in this persecution ; but as the emperor had decreed no pun- 
ishment against that class of persons, it must be considered as certain, that these 
persons had been found, either in assemblies or in the cemeteries, and were 
punished for the violation of the imperitorial law on that subject. For no one 
can doubt, although Cyprian omits the mention oi it, that the former edict 
against holding assemblies and going to the cemeteries was repeated in the new 
edict. Indeed, we know from two rescripts of Gallienus, (cited by Eusehius^ 
Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 13; p. 267.) that Valerian provided, as far as he could, 
that the Christians should find it difficult to disregard that law. For, in the first 
rescript, Gallienus having stopped the persecution of Christians, says to certain 

bishops, that he had given orders, on-as dTO rin-wj' rdv ^fHKr-xiva-i/nuv uTro^a^p-Aa-aia-iZ 

ut cuncti (milites, as I suppose,) a religiosis locis abscedant. Therefore Vale* 
rian had ordered the soldiers to keep guard about the sacred places of th» 
Christians, or the places where they assembled to worship God. In the second 
rescript he permits the bishops, ra twv «a\oufAcvojv )Loi/L(>iT>jpLa>v diroXaf^l^dvtiv x^'F^"-' 
utccemeteriorum suorum loca rccuperarent. The cemeteries, therefore, had been 
taken from the Christians by order of the emperor, and undoubtedly confis- 
[p. 566.] cated. Whether both rescripts refer to the same subject, or whether 
the " religious places " of the former are different from the "cemeteries " of the 
latter, is not clear, and I will not therefore decide. Yet, the former appears to 
me the more extensive, and to remove soldiers from all the sacred places, 
because the recovery of the cemeteries is made the subject of a special 
grant. 



Persecution of Valerian. 99 

The cause of the chanfrc of the first and milder edict into this far severer 
and more cruel one, tlioug-li not expressly stated by any luicient writer, may 
Btill be easily inferred from the transactions of those times. Neitiier the bi^hopa 
and presbyters, nor the christian people, obeyed the emperor's law respcctinfr 
assemblies and tiie cemeteries. The people resorted, in great numbers, to tho 
places where the bishops lived in exile; and the bishops, regardless of the im- 
peritorial mandate, not only held assemblies in those phices, but also did what 
might seem to be of a more treasonable character, namely, they hibored to con- 
vert the pagans to Christianity, and to enlarge the boundaries of the church. 
We ought to praise these holy men for their magnanimity : but it may be ques- 
tioned whether it would not have been better to temper that magnanimity with 
prudence, and give way to the iniquity of the times, for the sake of avoiding a 
greater evil. The emperor and the governors, in these circumstances, supposin^r 
themselves to be contemned by the Christians, especially by the bishops, deter- 
mined to coerce them by sterner laws. That this is no fiction appears from the 
history of Diomjsius Alexandrinus and Cyprian. We learn from Eusebius 
(Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 11, p. 258.) that when Dionysius was sent into exile, the 
prrcfect said to him : Nnllatenus autem licebit vobis (you and the presbyters) 
conventus agere. Quod si quis in conventu aliquo fuerit inventus, is sibi ipse 
periculum arccsset. How he obeyed this interdict of the emperors he teils us di- 
rectly after. First, thougii absent, he took care that the Christians remaining 
at Alexandria should meet together frequently, contrary to the law : Eos, qui 
in urbe erant, perinde ac si adessem, majore studio congregavi in ecclesiam, ab- 
sens quidem corporo. This he was able to accomplish by means of the four 
presbyters whom he had left at Alexandria, together with several deacons, as he 
afterwards states. Secondly, in the place of his exile he held assemblies of the 
Christians who followed him from the city, and others who resorted to him 
from every quarter: Apud Cephro vero nobiscum magna fidelium adfuit multi- 
tudo, partim eorum, qui ab urbe nos sequuti fuerant, partim aliorum, qui ex 
reliqua Egypto confluebant. Lastly, he labored to bring new converts into 
the church : Ibi quoque januara nobis patefecit Deus ad praedicationem verbi 
sui. - - Non pauci ex gentilibus, relictis simulacris, ad Deum conversi sunt. 
All these things were excellent in themselves, and worthy of so great a bishop: 
but they implied contempt for the emperor's mandates. It is, therefore, not 
strange that soon after the prefect, who had knowledge of all this, removed 
Dionysius to more distant and inhospitable regions; and the indignation against 
the Christians increased daily. In very nearly the same manner Cyprian con- 
ducted, in his exile at Curubis, as appears evident from his life, written [p. 657.] 
by his deacon Ponlius. For he went thither, attended by many persons, and a 
number of the brethren there visited him. (See ^ 12.) Neither were these only 
the poor aud humble, but likewise the most noble and distinguished. Says 
Pontius Q 14.) : Conveniebant plures egregii et clarissimi ordinis et sanguinis, 
sed et saeculi nobilitate generosi. And these congregated together, he in- 
structed very frequently with his discourses and exhortations: Ille servos Dei 
cxhortationibus dominicis instruebat, et ad calcandas passiones hujus temporis 
contemplatione supervcnturre claritatis animabat. Thus the Christian bishops 



100 Century Ill.—Scction 20. 

and presbyters themselves, because tliey would prosecute their work of advanc- 
ing the Christinn cause, rather than obey the emporor's will, provoked the tyrant 
to enact severer laws against them. 

(3) Dionysius of Alexandria, (apud Euseh.\l\^i. Eccles. L. vii. c. 10, p. 255.) 
thought tlie words of St. John, in the Apocalypse, (eh. 13:5.) were fulHlled in 
Valerian : whether he was correct or not does not effect the present argument: 
Et datum est illi os loquens magna et impia: Et data est illi potestas et menses 
quadraginta duo. Hence learned men have rightly inferred that the Valerian 
persecution continued into the fourth year. And that after Valerian was cap- 
tured by the Persians, his son GalHenus sent rescripts throughout the Roman 
world, staying the persecution, and giving Christians liberty freely to profess 
their religion, is fully attested by Eusebius, (Hist Eccles. L. vii. c. 13, p. 262.) 
where he confirms his statement, by quoting the very words of the rescripts. 
Gallienus seems to have regarded the sad fate of his father as a punishment 
inflicted on him by the Christian's God, for the persecution of his servants. 

(4) A memorable example of this kind is stated by Eusebius, (Hist. Eccles. 
L. vii. c. 15, p. 263.) Marinus was put to death at Ceesarea, after the restoration 
of peace to the Christian community by Gallienus. He was wealthy, prospe- 
rous, and of a good fiimily, and he aspired to the honor of a centurionship among 
the Romans. But when near the attainment of his object he was accused of 
being a Christian, before Achaeus the judge, by some one who was his rival 
candidate for the office. Marinus confessed the charge. The judge gave him 
three hours to consider whether he would sacrifice to the gods or persevere in 
the Christian faith. When the time had elapsed, Marinus professed Christ with 
greater promptitude than before, and cheerfully submitted to capital punish- 
ment. The proceeding with this man, most evidently, w^as not according to 
the edict of Valerian, which had already been abrogated by Gallienus, but ac- 
cording to the ancient law of Trajan. For an accuser appeared : The criminal, 
on confession, was required to renounce Christ, and, as he would not do it, he 
was forthwith led to execution. From this example, therefore, it appears that 
the ancient laws of the emperors against Christians retained all their force, even 
when milder ones had been enacted; and, therefore, under the milder emperors, 
[p. 558.] and in times of tranquillity, the governors could pass sentence upon 
the Christians who were formally accused and confessed the charge. The corps 
of Marinus, ODC Asturius, a Roman senator, and a man of the highest respecta- 
bility, bore away on his own shoulders, and committed to burial ; as we learn 
from the same Eusebius, (Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 16, p. 264.) And this he could 
do with impunity and perfect safety : and the reason is obvious. According to 
to Trajan's law, the judge could not punish without an accuser, and a man of 
such high reputation and distinction, and the personal friend of the emperors, 
no one either dared or wished to accuse before the court. 

§ XX. Persecution nnder Aurciian. If, therefore, a few ex- 
amples be excepted, of Christians put to death by governors who 
abused their power, the Christians enjoyed a good degree of tran- 
quillity under Gallienus, who reigned eight years with his brother 



Persecution of AurcUan. 101 

Valerian, and also under his successor Claudius^ wlio reigned two 
3^ears.(') Aarelian^ wlio succeeded Claudius in the year 270, 
although immoderately given to idolatry-, and j^ossessing a strong 
aversion to the Christians, yet devised no measures for their in- 
jury dui-ing four years. (') But in the fifth year of his reign, 
eitlicrirom his own superstition, or prompted by the superstition 
of otliers, he prepared to persecute them :(') and, had he lived, so 
cruel and ferocious was his disposition, and so much was he in- 
fluenced by the priests and the admirers of the gods, that this per- 
secution would have been more cruel than any of the preceding. 
But before his new edicts had reached all the provinces, and 
when he was in Thrace, in the year 275, he was assassinated by 
the instigation of Mnestheus, whom he had threatened to punish. 
And, therefore, only a few Christians suffered for their piety 
under him.(') 

(1) That in the reign of Claudius, a few Christicins here and tliere were 
put to death by the governors, undoubtedly under cover of the ancient laws, is 
evident from the instances adduced by Lupius, in his Notes on the Epitaph of 
Severa, (^ ii. p. 6, &,c.) Among these examples is that of Severa herself, whose 
particular Epitaph was dug up in the Via Salaria, A. D. 1730, and has been 
elucidated by a long and erudite commentary. 

(2) With great unanimity, the modern writers have stated, that Aurelian 
in the first years of his reign was kind and friendly to the Christians, but on what 
grounds or authority I know not. Fori no where find any testimony that he had 
this goodwill, nor do I meet with any specimen of it. I know that Eusehius tella 
us, (Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 30. p. 282.) that when the Christians appealed to this 
emperor against Paul of Samosata, who refused to quit the liouse of the church, 
after he was condemned in a council for corrupt sentiments concerning Christ, 
the emperor ordered him to be put out by force; and this decision against Paul 
Eusehius seems to regard as evidence of his friendly regards for the [p. 559.] 
Christians. But, if I am not greatly deceived, the followers of Eusehius infer 
from this act of Aurelian, more than is found in it. We will grant that, at that 
time, Aurelian had not indulged feelings of hostility to the Christians, nor de- 
termined on their extirpation. But how he could have entertained kind and 
friendly feelings towards them, I cannot understand, while he was burning with 
zeal for the worship of those gods which the Christians execrated, and, moreover, 
spoke contemptuously of the sacred rites of the Christians. For thus he wrote 
in an Epistle to the Senate, (preserved by Vopiscus in his Aurelius, c. 20. llistor. 
Augu^tee, torn. ii. p. 463.): Miror vos, patres sancti, tamdiu de aperiendis Sybll- 
linis dubitasse libris, perinde quasi in Chris iianorum ecclesia,non in temple Deo- 
rum omnium, tractarelis. In this language there is a very invidious comparison 
between the Christian religion and the worship and sacred rites of tlie gods ; 



102 Century III.— Section 20. 

and it indicates a mind wholly averse from the Christians, and paying all 
reverence to the gods. He seems to suppose that a certain divine and celestial 
influence prevailed in a temple of the gods, which illuminates the minds of 
those who deliberate there, and shows them what to do ; but that the churches 
of Christians lack this influence, and, therefore, everything proceeds tardily and 
heavily in their councils. But this very rej)resentation is honorary to the Chris- 
tian assemblies of that age : for it shows that nothing was done in them in a 
headlong and tumultuous manner, but everything was maturely considered and 
carefully weighed, so that the consultations continued often for a long time 
Moreover, when we come to treat of Paul of Samosata, we will show that Au- 
relians decision against him is no evidence of any love for Christians, but of 
his hatred to Zenobia, a queen of the east. 

(3) Eusebius tells us (Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 30 ; p. 283.) that Aurclian was 
prompted to persecute the Christians (t/s-i (iovx^li-,) by certain coiuiseUors. Per- 
haps this was true. It might be that either the Platonic philosophers, wiio 
possessed great influence in those times, or the heathen priests, who had many 
friends at court, and especially among the ladies of rank, represented to the 
emperor that the destruction of the Christians would prove useful to the 
empire. But whoever will survey the life of Aurelian, will perceive that he 
needed no external influences to bring him to assail the Christians, for his innate 
cruelty and superstition w^ere sufficient of themselves to prompt him to such a 
nefarious resolution. Scarcely any one among the emperors, before Constan- 
tine the Great, was more superstitious, or more devoted to the imaginary deities. 
His mother was a priestess of the sun : (see Vopiscus in his Aurelian, c. iv. p. 
420). And her son, in consequence, all his life reverenced the sun as the 
supreme deity. He closes an oration, in which he thanks Valerian for the 
honors he had received from him, in these words: Dii faciant et Deus certus Sol, 
(so then he placed more confidence in the sun than in all the other gods,) ut el 
senatus de me sic sentiat. (Ibid. c. xiv. p. 451). When the forces of Zenobia had 
[p. 560.] been vanquished at Emessa, he supposed that he was indebted for the 
victory to the good providence of the sun ; and, therefore, " immediately after 
the battle, he repaired to the temple of Heliogabalus, as if to pay his vows for 
the public favor." (Ibid. c. xxv. pp. 478, 479). And " the garments eniiched 
with jewels," which had been stripped from the vanquished Persians, Armenians, 
and other enemies, he consectrated in the temple of the sun. (Ibid. c. xxviii. 
p. 483). When Palmyra was captured, and the infuriate soldiers had plundered 
the temple of the sun, he was more solicitous for nothing than to have that 
sacred edifice magnificently repaired and dedicated anew. To Ceionius Bassus, 
whom he had intrusted with this business, he wrote: Habes trcccntas auri li- 
bras e Zenobia? capsulis : habes argcnti mille octingenta pondo. De Palmyre- 
norum bonis habes gemmas regias. Ex his omnibus fac cohonestari templum : 
mihi et Diis immortalibus gratissimum feceris. Ego ad senatum siribam, petens, 
ut mittat Pontificem, qui dedicet templum. (Ibid. c. xxxi. p. 491). Afterwards ho 
erected a very magnificent temple of the sun at Rome, (Ibid. c. xxxix. p. 522,) 
and placed in it much gold and jewelry. (Ibid. p. 523). And hence, after his death, 
Aurelianus Tacitus said, hi his oration before the senate: Quindecim raillia 



Efforts of Philosophers. 103 

librarum auri ex ejus liberalitate ununi tc-.net templum (solis): omnia in urbo 
fana ejus niicant donia (Ibid. c. xll. p. 527). On one of his coins, nienlioned by 
Ezrcliiel Spanheimy (de usu et prajstantia numismat. vol. ii. p, 485.) is tliia 
le^^iMid : iSol Dominus imperii Rumani. — Now, who can wonder that a prineo 
intlamed with such insane zeal ibr the worship of the sun, should have deter- 
mined to assail with the sword, and to persecute with edicts, those Christiana 
who deemed the sun unworthy of divine honors ? 

(4) Eusebius states (Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 30; p. 285, &c.) that Aurelian 
fell by parricidal hands, while preparing for his intended assault upon the 
Chrisiians, and, as it were, in the very act of subscribing the edicts against them. 
This obscure statement is explained by Lactantius, (de mortibus persecutorum, 
c. 6.) who informs us that his edicts had reached only to the provinces border- 
ing on Thrace, and says: Protinus inter initia sui furoris cxtinctus est. Non- 
dum ad provincias ulteriores eruenta ejus edicta pervenerant, et jam Cajnofrurio, 
qui locus est Thraciai, cruentus humi jacebat. 

§ XXI. Efforts of the Philosophers against the Christians. Wllile 
the emperors and magistrates were striving to subvert the Chris- 
tian commonwealth by means of Laws and punishments, it was 
assailed with craft and subtly, during this whole century, by the 
philosophers of the Ammonian school; who assumed the name of 
Platonists, extended their discipline over nearly all the Eoman 
empire, and gradually obscured the glory of all the other sects. 
For, as most of the people who cultivated piety and virtue, [p. 561.] 
more readily repaired to the Christians than to the schools of the 
Philosophers, and many went also from the schools of the Pla- 
tonists themselves, (') they were induced to resist to the utmost a 
sect which threatened ruin to their prosperity and fame. Hence 
Porpliyry^ a Syrian or Tyrian, the corypha3us of the Platonist 
sect in this century, (according to Plotinus^) a man distinguished 
for his subtlety and acuteness, composed a long treatise against 
the Christians ; which, it is to be regretted, the laws of the Chris- 
tian emperors have caused to disappear : for the few fragmcuts 
of it still remaining,show that Forpltyry was no very formidable 
adversary .(') Others of this sect adopted into their creed tlie best 
and most sublime precepts of Christianity, and especially those 
relating to piety and morality, so that they might appear to teach 
religion and virtue with as much purity and sanctity as the 
Christians, Others, again, in order to weaken the Christians' 
argument from the life and miracles of the Saviour, labored to 
show, tliat among the more devout worshippers of the gods, tliere 



104 Century III. — Section 21. 

had been men not inferior, and perhaps actually superior,, to^ 
Jesus Christy both in their origin and virtue, and in the number 
and magnitude of their miracles ; and for this purpose they drew 
up the lives of Archytas of Tarcntum, PylliagoraSy AjJoUonitts 
Tyanteus, and other men of great fame ; and, stufiing these 
biographies with silly fables, they put them into the hands of the 
common people.(^) The men of this class did not revile Jesus 
Christ, nor deny that the precepts which the Christians taught as 
coming from him, were, for the most part, excellent and com- 
mendable, but they devised a sort of harmony of all religions, or 
a universal religion, which might embrace the Christian among 
the rest. This plan, which was contrived by Ammonius, the 
founder of the sect, required the admission of only so much of 
the Christian system as was not utterly repugnant to idolatry, or 
to the ancient popular religions. 

(1) Respecting the conversion to Christianity of many Platonists, and espe- 
cially of the disciples of Plolinus, the head man of the Platonist school in this 
century, we have the following very lucid passage in the writings of Augustine^ 
(Epist. Ixviii. ad Dioscorum, cap. v. ^ 33. 0pp. torn. ii. p. 260.) : Tunc Plotini 
schola Ronice floruit, habuitque condiscipulos multos, acutissimos viros. Sed 
aliqui eorum mnglcnrum arlium curiositate depravati sunt, aliqui Dominum, 
[p. 562.] Jesum Christum ipsius veritatis atque sapientia3 incommiitabilis, quam 
conabantur attingero, cognoscentes gestare personam, in ejus TniUtiam trails 
sieruni. 

(2) On the work of Porphyry against the Christians, may be consulted Lu- 
cas Holstenius, (de Vita Porphyrii, c. xi.) Jo. Fran. Buddeuii, (Isagoge in Theo- 
logiam, torn. ii. p. 1009, &c.) and Jo. Alb. Fabricius, (Lux Evangelii toti orbi 
exoriens, p. 154). To the observations made by these authors I have nothing 
to add. 

(3) The Life of Py/liagoras was written in this century by Porplujry, and in 
the next by Jamblickus, and both, unquestionably, in order to make that philo- 
Bopher appear in all respects the equal of Jesus Christ, but especially so in his 
miracles and in the wisdom of his precepts. This is demonstrated by Ludolph 
KUster, m the notes to his edition of the Life of Jamblichus ; and any one will 
readily see it, if he will compare eitlier of tiiese biograpiiies with the history of 
our Saviour : (See Kusteri Adnot. ad Jamblichi, cap. ii. p. 7. et cap. xix. p. 78). 
No two lambs could be more alike than Christ and Pytiiagoras, if all were tru» 
which those two biographers have stated. The fable of Apollonius Tyana3U8, 
which Philostralus composed in this century, by command of Julia, the em- 
press, wife to the emperor Severus, is abundantly known; and none among the 
learned need to be informed that Hierocles, a Platonic philosopher of the fourth 
century, contrasted Pythagoras with Jesus Christ, and that Eusehius of Cassarea 



Efforts of Philosophers. 105 

wrote a special treatise against the book. That Philoslratus aimed, in his very- 
splendid, and yet most stupidly mendacious book, to suggest such a comparison 
between Cln-ist and Apollonius, has long been shown by the learned men who 
are cited and approved by Godfrey Olearius, the editor of Philostratus; (Pajfat. 
p. xxxix). Moreover, as Christ imparted to his friends and legates the power 
of working miracles ; so also, to make the resemblance perfect, these IMatonista 
represent Fijlhagoras as imparting the same power to several of his fol lowers, to 
Empedocles, Epimenides, Abaris, and others. See Jamblichus, (Vita Pythagorae, 
c. 28. p. 114). To exhibit the designs and the impudence of this sect, I will cito 
a Latin translation of the words of Jamblichus in the above cited place. Having 
spoken of some miracles of Pythagoras, he adds : Millia alia, hisque diviuiora, 
magisque miranda, qua? de viro traduntur. - - Quorum compotes etiam facti 
Empedocles Agrigentinus, Epimenides Cretensis et Abaris IJyperboreus, multis 
in locis talia facinora desigiiarunt. Satis autem nota sunt ipsorum opera. 

Moreover, these comparisons were made, not so much to disparage Christ, 
as to injure Christianity. For those who compared Christ with Pythgoras, with 
Apollonius Tyana3us, with Empedocles, with Archy tas, &c. tacitly admitted that 
Christ was a divine person, far superior to the common order of men, [p. 563.] 
the Lord of demons, the controler of nature, and a great benefactor to the 
human race : but they affirmed that the Christians misunderstood and perverted 
the opinions of their master and guide. iVs they wished to reduce all modes of 
philosophising, whether Greeeian or barbarian, to the one mode of the Platon- 
isis, and explained this mode according to the Egyptian notions of God and 
nature; and, moreover, labored to bring all the religions of the world into har- 
mony with this Platonico-iEgyptian system, and as they did not deny that 
Christ taught a religion which was good and useful, it became necessary that 
they should maintain, that what the Christians inculcated was, in great measure, 
diverse from the opinions of [Christ] their master. They, therefore, wished to 
accomplish two objects by the above-mentioned comparisons : — First, to prevent 
any credit being given to the assertion of the Christians, that Christ was GoJ, 
or the Son of God. For if there were to be found among men, individuals 
possessing the same power of changing and controling the laws of nature, as 
had been possessed by Christ, then the Christians' argument for Christ's di- 
vinity, derived from his miracles, would fall to the ground. Their second object 
was, to bring men to believe that Christ had no design to subvert the ancient 
pagan religions, but merely to purify and reform them. Now,if among the most 
devout of the pagan worshippers, tliere were found persons the equals, and 
perhaps the superiors of Clirist in great achievements, then it would necessarily 
follow, that those are mistaken who suppose Christ wished to abolish the 
temples and the ceremonies of tlie pagan worship. 

To the list of Phitonists who labored to subvert the Christian religion by 
cunning devices, A;ju/etus was, not long since, added by the very learned and in- 
genious William Warburion.'m his English work, The Divine Le<j^ation nf Moses 
Demonstrated (vol. ii. p. 117). For he thinks that Apuleius, a man excessively 
superstitious and hostile to the Christians, both personally and from zeal to his 
sect, wrote his well-known Metamorphosis, or fable of the Golden Ass, for the 



106 Centunj III.— Section 22. 

purpose of making it appear that the mysteries of the gods possessed the 
highest efficacy for purifying and iiealing the minds of men, and were therefore 
greatly to be preferred to the Christian sacred rites. With his accustomed 
penetration and skill in matters of antiquity, this distinguished man has disco- 
vered in Apuleius some things never before observed by any one. Among these, 
the most noticeable is, that he thinks it may be inferred with much probability 
from the Defence of Apuieius now extant, that the Licinius Aemilianus, who 
accused Apuleius of magic before the proconsul of Africa, was a Christian. 
But as to the object of the fable of the Ass, which this very learned man sup- 
poses to have been to exalt the pagan mysteries, and tiirow contempt on Cliris- 
tianity, I have my doubts; because I see nothing adduced from that fable, 
which it would be dithcult to explain in a different manner. 

§ XXII. The First Movements of Diocletian. Diocletian AVas ad- 
vanced to the government of the empire A. D. 284 ; and being by 
[p. 664:.] nature more inclined to clemency than to cruelty, he suf- 
fered the Christians to live in tranquillit}^, and to propagate their 
religion without restraint. Bat in the subsequent year, 285, he 
took for his colleague in the government Maximian Herculius^ a 
man who is represented as most inveterately hostile to the Chris- 
tians, and as having punished many of them, both in Gaul and at 
Rome, with extreme rigor; nay, as having put to death the 
whole Thebcean legion, composed of Christians, because the}^ re- 
fused to sacrifice to the gods at the Leman lake. I say, he is so 
represented ; for the alleged examples and proofs of such atrocity 
are not of so high authority that they cannot be called in ques- 
tion and invalidated.(') It is more certain that, near the end of 
the century, Maximian Galerius, (whom the two emperors had 
created a Csesar, together with Constantius Chlonis^ in the 3^ear 
292,) persecuted both the ministers of his palace and the soldiers, 
who professed Christianity, removing some of them from office, 
harassing others with reproaches and insults, and even causing 
some to be put to death.Q But this hatred of Galerius^ because 
it did not reach very far, and seemed to be tolerated rather than 
approved by the two emperors, did not prevent the daily ad- 
vance of the Christian cause; and the Christians, rendered se- 
cure by long-continued peace, deviated sadly from the primitive 
sanctity and piety.(') 

(1) Roman Catholic writers mention numerous martyrs, put to death dur- 
ing the first years of Diocletian s reign, in Gaul, at Rome, and elsewhere ; but 
as the early writers say nothing of them, and especially Eusebius, who tells us 



First Acts of Diocletian. 107 

that tlie condition of the Christians during the eighteen first years of Dio- 
cletian was very quicf, and almost wliolly free from perils; (see his Hist. 
Ecclcs. L. viii. e. 1, p. 291.) these writers either contend that Euscbius was 
better acquainted with the Eastern ciiurcii tl'.an the Western, or lliey tell us, 
that these martyrs were overlooked by the ancients, because they were put to 
deatii not by a public mandate of the emperor Dioclelian, but only by the private 
orders of Maximian Herculius. Such as choose m:iy rest satisfied with this 
exphination ; but I must confess, there is no rashness in doubting the reality of 
all tiiese martyrdoms. The whole history of them is based on the credibility of 
certain Acts and martyrologies, to which no one will commit himself, if he 
judges that confidence is to be placed in none but certain and approved autho- 
rities. No one can be ignorant, that the catalogues of martyrs in use in some 
churches, are of a most uncertain character, and are collected for the most part 
from dubious ancient and obscure reports; nor are the narratives, [p. 565.] 
which have in various places been current for several centuries, entitled to any 
greater respect. How few are the undisputed Acts of the saints and martyrs 
in the three first centuries, may be learned from Theodore Ruinari, who at- 
tempted to collect them all, and did make a collection. This learned man 
published a moderate sized volume; and he would have made out a very little 
one, if he had determined to admit nothing but what is above all suspicion. 

Of all the martyrs whom Maximian Herculius h said to have sacrified to his 
gods, there are none more celebrated and noble than those that composed the 
Thebivan legion, who, from the place where they were slain, were called the 
Agaunian Martyrs. Their relics are spread almost all over the Romish 
church, and are held in special reverence in France, Switzerland, and Italy. 
Nor is this reverence of recent date, originating in those centuries in which all 
Europe was involved in ignorance; when superstition every year created new 
martyrs. For it appears from the works of AvUils, of Vienne, (published by 
Ja. !Sirmond,) who flourished near the beginning of the sixth century, that at 
that time there was at Agaunum, a church dedicated to these martyrs, and that 
in it a festal day was observed in memory of them. (See Ja. Sirmond, 0pp. 
torn. ii. p. 93-97.) This I mention, because I perceive that some learned men, 
who are opposed to these martyrs, maintain that the knowledge of them was 
first brought to light in the middle of the sixth century, nay, in the seventh 
century. As Maximian Herculius was marching an army into Gaul to quell 
some commotions there, having passed the Alps, he arrived at the parts of Valaia 
on the Leman lake; and to prepare his troops for contending under better au- 
spices, he ordered a general lustration, and that the troops should swear fealty 
on the altars of the gods. This mandate of the general was resisted by the 
Thebaean legion, which had Mauritius for its commander, had just come from the 
East, and was wholly composed of Christians. Maximian therefore twice 
decimated it, that is, caused every tenth man to be put to death ; and as this 
rigor was wholly insuflicient to overcome its constancy, he ordered his army to 
fall upon it and slay the entire legion. This is the substance of that Passio 
Sauclorum Maurilii ac sociorum ejus, which is said to have been conii)osed by 
Evcherius, bishop of Lyons, in the sixth century, and which, after others, 



lOS Century Ill—Section 22. 

Tiieod. Ruinart published, witli learned notes, in I)is Acta Martyrum sincora et 
selecta, p. 271, &:c. The adversaries of the Romish cliurch, who have contro- 
verted so many of the otheridleged martyrdoms, all left the ^' Happy Legion^'' as 
this legion was called, untouched down to the eighteenth century, except by 
here and there an individual. Nor was this strange, because there is scarcely any 
other narrative of martyrdom that is confirmed by so many very ancient docu- 
ments and testimonies as this is. Perhaps, also, many feared they should de- 
[p. 566.] tract from the honor of Christianity if they brought under discussion 
this so illustrious and extraordinary example of early Christian fortitude 
and constancy. Others may have been so charmed with the story of the Thun- 
dering Legion, of which we have before spoken, under Marcus Antoninus, that 
they could see nothing in)probable in this Christian Thehccan Legion serving 
under Maximian Herculius. For if a whole legion of Christians was admitted 
into the Roman army under Marcus, much more might such a legion be counte- 
nanced under JMaximian, when the Christian cause had been more widely ex- 
tended and better established. But in this eighteenth century, John DubordieUj 
a very learned man, who had seen the supposed bones of Mauritius and some 
of his fellow-soldiers honored with great superstition at Turin, made a formal 
attack upon the Theba3an legion, and was the first to class it among the fables 
of former ages, in a book published at Amsterdam, in 1705, 8vo., under the title : 
" Dissertation critique sur le Martyre de la Legion Thebeenne." Three years 
after, Ja. HoUinger, in his Ecclesiastical History of Switzerland, (tom. i. L. ii. 
§ 23, &c.) followed the example of Dubordieu, and confirmed his positions 
with new arguments of no inconsiderable weight. Both reasoned ingeniously 
and learnedly. But the dissertation of the latter, as it constituted a small 
part of a large volume, and was written in the German language, did less 
harm to the Thebsean legion than the treatise of the former ; which, being 
written in an elegant style, was soon circulated over a large part of Europe, 
and forcibly urged those of moderate learning, as well as the more learned, to 
place the Happy Legion among the pious fictions of former ages. A defence 
of the Happy Legion was at once contemplated by Claret, the Abbot of St. 
Maurice, in the Valais, to whom, more than to any other, the task appeared to 
belong ; but being burdened with too much business, he devolved the task 
upon his friend Joseph de VIsle, Abbot of St. Leopold, at Nancy ; and he, after 
a long interval of thirty-five years, came out against the opposers of the holy 
soldiers, in a French work, printed at Nancy in 1741, r2mo. entitled, "Defense 
de la verite de la Legion Thebeenne pour repondrc a la Dissertation du Minis- 
tre du Bordieu." This writer, deficient neither in learning nor ingenuity, pours 
upon his antagonist a great abundance of testimonies and documents, among 
which are some of sufliciently high antiquity, and now first adduced by him ; but 
in replying to the arguments of his opponent, and pnrticularly to those brought 
against the Acta Sti Mauritii, attributed to Eucherius, his strength fails him, 
and he hardly maintains his ground: neither does he meet the whole contro- 
versy, for he was ignorant of the arguments which Hottinger had added to those 
of the first assailant. Yet the erudite man fully satisfied his own church, and 
especially those members of it who live sumptuously and merrily at the ex- 



First Acts of Diocletian. 100 

pcnse of St. Maurice and liia companions, that is, on the resources of tho 
Happy Legion, contributed and consecrated by well-meaning people ; but tho 
nnnds of those whom Dubordieu and JloUin'^er led astray, he could not con- 
vince and reclaim. After some years, Dubordieu \)c\\\<r dead, tho aLtiick was 
renewed by one of the prefects of the Genevan library, Boulnirc, [p. 5G7.] 
if I remember correctly, a man of uncommon sagncity and industry; nay, he 
fortified the att;ick by new arguments, in a French Epistle, which is inserted 
in the Bibliolheque Raisonnee, (torn, xxxvi. p. 427, &,c.) This learned man de- 
serves special praise, not only for ingenuously admitting that Dubordieu, whom 
he patronizes, had committed some mistakes, but also for laboring to ascertain 
the origin of the fiible, and to show that it was brought from the East into 
Rhetia. A little afterwards, a rather brief, but ingenious and well-digested 
opinion on the subject, was given by the very respectable Loysius Buchat, in \m 
Mcmoires Critiques sur I'Histoire ancienne de la Suisse, (vol. i. p. 557, &c., 
edit, of 1747.) He had no doubt that every intelligent person who shall feel 
himself at liberty to express his real sentiments, after examining the whole sub- 
ject, will place the history we are considering among the pious frauds. 

Whoever compares with a calm and unbiassed mind the arguments on both 
sides, will readily adopt the opinion, that this controversy is not yet decided ; 
the learned men already mentioned have indeed rendered the story of the The- 
btean Legion dubiou?, and some parts of it they have divested of all proba- 
bility, but they have not overthrown the whole story. For, as already observ- 
ed, the advocates of the Blessed Legion bring forward a mass of testimonies, 
some of which have great antiquity; and although the other party oppose to 
these testimonies the silence of the cotcmporary writers, and those of the age 
next after the legion, and also arguments derived from the nature of the case, 
yet all this proof seems insufficient to wholly overthrow the evidence of so many 
proofs from both facts and testimony. Whoever shall carefully and accurately 
weigh all the arguments, however, will, I think, conclude, that the side of the 
opposers has the advantage over that of the defendants. The most ancient 
witness for the legion lived in the Jiflk century, and wrote the Life of Roma- 
nus, Abbot of Mount Jura, in Burgundia, who died after the middle of the fifth 
century. This Life is in the Ada Sanclor. Antwerp, (torn. iii. Fcbruar. ad diem 
28, p. 740,) and w\as undoubtedly composed soon after the death of Romanus 
by one of his associates. From this author we learn, that in the time of Ro- 
manus, and consequently about the middle of the Jiflh century, there was at 
Agaunum a church dedicated to Maurice, the commander of the legion ; and 
that his whole history was then inserted in the Acta, and was considered alto- 
gether true. For thus he writes (c. iv. } 15, p. 744) : Basilicam Sanctorum, 
immo, ut ita dixerim, castra Martyrum in Agaunensium locum, sicut passionis 
ipsorum relatio digesta testatur, qua3 sex millia sexcentos viros, non dicam am- 
bire corpore in fabricis, sed nee ipso (ut reor) campo illic potuit consepire, 
fidei ardore deliberavit (Romanus) expetere. And in his preflice (p. 741,) he ex- 
plicitly mentions Maurice, the commander of the legion, and not obscurely tells 
us. that his urn, i. e., his sepulchre, was to be seen in the church of Agauinim : 
Prior (Romanus) priscum sccutus Johannem supra urnam S. Mauritii, id est 



110 Century III— Section 22. 

[p. 6G8.] Legionis Thebaeorum martyrum cnpul, velut ille eximius Apostolua 
Kupni siilutifuri pectus rceumbit auctoris. This church, havhig fallen by its 
age or otherwise, near the close of the century, needed to be rebuilt. Accord- 
ingly, it was rebuilt, and Alcimus Aviliis, archbishop of Vienne, preached a 
sermon in the new built church near the commencement of the sixlh century. 
The sermon is lost, or at least has not been discovered ; but Sirmo?id found 
the beginning of it in an ancient manuscript, with the following inscription : 
Dicta in Basilica sanctorum Agaunensium, in innovatione monasterii ipsius 
vel pubsione martyrum. Although the exordium thus recovered is short, yet 
it places beyond dispute, that some Acta Legionis Thehaecc then existed, that 
they agreed withthose we now have, and were publicly read in the presence of 
the assembly immediately before this discourse. The Acta now extant are 
attributed to Eiicherius, bishop of Lyons, in the sixth century, a man of re- 
spectability on many accounts; and therefore they hold the third i)lace in the 
list of documents on which rests the credibility of this story. The documents 
of the sixth and following centuries, being much inferior to those of the first 
class above mentioned, I pass them without notice. — It is therefore clear, unless 
I wholly misjudge, that as early as the beginning of the Jifih century, and per- 
haps also in the fourth, the inhabitants of Rha^tia and the Valais, firmly be- 
lieved what is at this day stated respecting the Thebaean Legion ; they possessed 
and read the Ada of this legion; dedicated a church to it, and in that church 
annually celebrated the memory of those illustrious soldiers ; they preserved 
the bones of Maurice, the commander of the legion; and they pointed out the 
plain where the slaughter of it took place by command of Maximian Hercu- 
lius. h remains then to be inquired, whether these arguments are sufficient to 
place the truth of the story beyond all controversy. This the very learned op- 
posers deny ; and on what grounds I will now shew, with the same impar- 
tiality with which I have stated the arguments in favor of the story. 

First, Many, and especially Duhordieii, in opposing the Actafelicis Legionis 
which have come down to us, deny that these Acta were written by Eucherius; 
they contend that they contain various errors ; and they would attribute the 
compilation of them to some ignorant monk of the seventh century. But if wc 
admit that these objections are urged with as much truth as erudition and inge- 
nuity, yet, unless I greatly mistake, they avail nothing against the truth of our 
historical facts. For these fiicts do not rest solely on the authority of those 
Acta, but, as we have shown, upon stronger and more ancient testimonies, which 
cannot in any way be confuted. Let us suppose that these Acta were com- 
piled in the seventh century, or even in the eighth or ninth, and by some igno- 
rant and fraudulent person; it would still be certain, that as early as the ffih 
century there were other Acta in the hands of the Rhaetians, which, in regard 
to the main facts, agreed with these. 

Secondlij. Much stronger is the argument derived from the silence of tho 
writers, who lived at and near the time when the legion is said to have been 
butchered. Eusebius, the father of ecclesiastical history, and otherwise a care- 
ful recorder of the sufferings of the martyrs, knew nothing respecting this 
[p. 669.] legion. Sulpicius SeveruSy of the Ji/th century, who lived in Gaul, 



First Acts of Diocletian, \\\ 

and wrote a (Ilisloria Sacra,) Ili.-tory of Religion, knew notiiinfr of lliia 
legion; Paul Orosius, who commented on the expedition of Maxiinian into 
Gaul, knew notJiing of it; Lacianiius, who, in \m book De Mortihus Perse- 
quulorum, describes the cruelty and the tnigical death of Maximian, knew 
nothing of it; Frude7iUus,ii distinguished Christian poet, who sung the praises 
of the known martyrs of his times, knew nothing of it. In short, all the 
writers of the fourth century whose works li.ive come down to us, knew 
nothing respecting this legion. The weight of this negative argument, which 
surely is great, was felt by Joseph de I'lsle; who, of course, does all he can 
to evade it. But fairness requires us freely to admit, that, while it is impossi- 
blc wholly to destroy it, it may be in a measure weakened. In the first place, 
the advocates for the legion say, it is not strange that an occurrence i:i Eu- 
rope, and in the valleys of the Alps, should have been unknown to EusebiuSf 
and to all the Asiatic and African writers; nor can it be denied, that EvscMus 
is silent as to many occurrences in the West, and that his history, for the most 
part, treats of the affairs of the East. With regard to Siilpitius Seierus, there 
is greater difficulty ; because he lived in Gaul, where this legion is reported 
to have been butchered ; and, as he was of a light and credulous disposition, he 
would undoubtedly have mentioned it in his history, if there had been a 
popular rumor spreading throughout Gaul, in his age, of the glorious death of 
so many soldiers. But I am suspicious, that Sulpitius himself affords a plausible 
answer. After briefly but nervously speaking of the grievousness and severity 
of the Diocletian persecution, in the following terms : Hac tempestate omnia 
fere sacro martyrum cruore orbis infectus est. - - Nullis umquam mngis bellis 
mundus exhaustus est; he proceeds to say explicitly, that for the sake of 
brevity, he should not particularly mention any of the martyrs, although iheir 
Acta were extant: Extant etiam mandatce litteris praidaraj ejus temporis mar- 
tyrum passiones : quas connectendas non putavi, ne modum operis excederem. 
(See his Historia Sacra, L. ii. c. 32, p. 248.) Here, it appears to me, he clearly 
explains the reason of his silence. Paul Orosius and Prudentius lived in Spain ; 
and therefore it might be that they were ignorant of an occurrence on the bor- 
ders of Italy. Orosius, moreover, (Hist. L. vii. c. 25,) treats very summarily of 
the affairs of Diocletian and Maximian, and of the persecution of Chrisfians by 
them; so that he could not well repeat so long a story as that of the Thebaian 
Legion ; and, like Sulpitius, he mentions no particular martyr. But in regard 
to Lactaniius, whom I asssume to be the author of the celebrated treatise de 
Mortihus PersequutoTum, the most ingenious apologist will find himself stag- 
gered. For he might well know the story, since his book shows, that he waa 
not only familiar with all the occurrences in the empire and the imperial court 
in those times, but also with the vices and crimes and flagitious deeds of Max- 
imian ; nor can any reason whatever be assigned, why he should omit an oc- 
currence so intimately connected with the subject of which he was [p. 570.] 
treating, and yet describe very copiously the hostility of Maximian towards the 
Christians, and the many sufferings they endured at his hands. 

Thirdly. Another argument against the legion is drawn by learned men 
from the story itself, which, they say, contains many things utterly incredible. 



112 Ccnlvry III.— Section 22. 

They contend, first, that it is incredible there should be in the Roman arm)', at 
that time, a whole legion made up of Cliristians ; and it is still more incredible 
that Maximian, when marching against enemies, and just ready to meet them, 
should slaughter so great a portion of his army, recently summoned from the 
East to ensure his success, and should thus willingly weaken his forces, and 
deprive himself of the means necessary to a victory; for, however savage his 
disposition, he was most skilful in military affairs, and a consummate general. 
Again, they contend, that it seems by no means probable, that among so many 
soldiers, not one was disposed to consult his safety, either by dissimulation or 
by flight. And, finally, they say it was strai>ge, and a thing unheard of, for so 
great a body of armed men patiently to resign themselves up to their execu- 
tioners, and make no effort to defend their lives with their arms. All these con- 
siderations are urged with much ingenuity and address by very learned men; 
and yet it must be admitted, that if the story of the Thebccan Legion can be 
proved by irresistible testimony, then it has nothing to fear from these argu- 
ments; for none of ihera are so strong as to be wholly unanswerable. 

For myself, next to the silence of Lactantius, I regard as the strong- 
est of all arguments against the story of this legion, w'hat the above-men- 
tioned prefect of the Genevan library states to us, from Ca3sar Barronius, 
(Adnot, ad diem 22, Septcmbr. Martyrologii Romani, p. 375.) respecting a Mmi- 
rice among the Greeks, very similar to the Gallic commander of the Thebaian 
Legion. For the Greeks very devoutly observe the twenty-first day of Feb- 
ruary, in memory of a certain Maurice, a military tribune, whom the emperor 
Maximian commanded to be put to death on account of his Christian faith, at 
Apamea, in Syria, and with him seventy Christian soldiers. The Acta of this 
Maurice are given by the Jesuits of Antwerp, (Acta Sanctor. tom. iii. Feb- 
ruarii, p. 237,) and are undoubtedly of modern date, and of no historical value. 
Yet this Maurice was held by the Greeks of the Jiflh century to be a martyr 
of the highest order ; as is attested by Theodoret, (Graecar. Affectionum 
L. viii. p. 607.) Now, it is contrary to all probability that there were two 
Maurices, both tribunes, and both put to death by the same emperor; the one 
in Syria and the other in Gaul, and at about the same time, and each with the 
soldiers under him. And. therefore, it would seem that the story of Maurice 
and his companions must have been borrowed, either by the Latins from the 
Greeks, or by the Greeks from the Latins. But Tkeodoret, above cited, affords 
objections to our supposing the Greeks received the story from the Latins ; 
and therefore it is most probable that the Latins transferred the Maurice of the 
Greeks from Syria to Gaul, and augmented and embellished his history with 
many fables, invented doubtless for the sake of gain. Yet T will not strongly 
object if some should conjecture, perhaps, that something actually occurred 
[p. 57L] in the Valais, or near the Leman Lake, which afforded occasion for 
the perpetration of this fraud, by some priest desirous to procure sustenance and 
wealth from the credulity of the people. Perhaps Maximian, while marching 
his army into Gaul, actually ordered a few of his soldiers, who refused to sacri- 
fice to the gods for the success of the war, to suffer the penalty of their con- 
Btancy. Perhaps, soon afterwards, a little chapel was erected in memory of 



First Acts of Diocletian. 113 

(hoso holy soldiers, on the spot where they were shiin ; for such was the oua- 
torn of (hat aye. But as that little chapel had not sufficient fame and cele- 
brity to render it very lucrative to its g'uardians, they, in order to allure people 
thither, and thus enrich their domicile, expanded the brief Jiistory of its iuinible 
origiu, and summoning to their aid the Maurice of the Greeks and his military 
companions, they represented Maximian as slaughtering a whole legion in the 
Vahiis. And the multitude of human bones \\\ those parts afforded support to 
the fable. For, those finiiliar with ancient history know, that great battles 
were formerly fought in that part of Gaul, and many thousand persons slain ; 
so that the ground, where now is seen the splendid and prosperous monastery 
of {St. Maurice^ was formerly rich in dead corpses. 

(2) This is attested by Eusehhis, (Hist. Eccles. L. viii. c. 1, p. 292, c. 4, 
p. 295; and in the end of the book, p. 317.) So learned men long since ob- 
served; nor can there be any doubt of it. But as to tlie author of this first 
persecution of the soldiers and officials of the palace, some doubts have arisen 
in my mind, while comparing Eusehius with Lacianlius ; which, I am surprised, 
have not occurred to the learned. Eusehius clearly represents, that before Dio- 
cletian had made any decrees against the Christians, Maximian Galerius perse- 
cuted the soldiers and servants of the palace. But Lactantius, (de Mortibus 
persequutor. c. 10, p. 85, die.) although he inveighs vehemently against the 
cruelty of Ma.ximian in other instances, and charges him with extraordinary zeal 
for exterminating the Christians, yet is entirely silent as to this crime of 
Maximian ; and he tells us, on the contrary, that Diocletian first assiiiled the 
soldiers and officials of the palace, but without shedding blood. He represents 
Diocletian as being then in the East, and as searching in the livers of beasts 
which he had slain, to obtain auguries of future events. But some of his minis- 
ters who were standing by, being Christians, made the sign of the cross on 
their foreheads: quo facto^ fugaiis dccmonibus, sacra iurhata sunt. The sooth- 
sayers repeated their sacrifices several times, but in vain ; they could not di-co- 
ver the customary appearances on the entrails of the victims. At length the 
chief soothsayer declared, non respondere sacra, quod rchus die inis pro/an i homi- 
nes (namely, Christians) interesseni. Then Diocletian, in a rage, ordered all the 
persons in the palace to offi?r sacrifices, and such as refused were to be 
scourged. And by letters addressed to their commanders, milites ad nefanda 
sacrijicia cogi prcccepily ut qui non paruisscnf, militia soharentur. He adds : 
Haclenus furor ejus et ira processit, nee amplius quidquam contra legem [p. 572.] 
aut religionem Dei fecit. Neither was he afterwards disposed to go farther. 
For when, after some years, Maximian wished to have public edicts of a bloody 
character enacted against the Christians, he refused, and said : Satis esse, si 
palatinos tanlum et milites ah ea religione prohiberet. (c. 11, p. 99, ed. Bauldrian.) 
Whether, theretbre, this first liglit and moderate persecution of soldiers and offi- 
cials, which preceded the great Diocletian persecution that commenced in the 
third year of the following century, is to be attributed to Diocletian or Maxi- 
mian, appears to be uncertain, because of the disagreement of the principal 
authorities on the subject. Those who would reconcile these disagreeing state- 
ments, may say that both emperors committed the same fault, and assailed 

VOL. u. 9 

I 



114 Century III— Section 22. 

their soldiers and palace servants at the same time ; Diocletian in the East, and 
Maximian in Illyricum, which was the province under his jurisdiction. And 
there is, I confess, a shade of difference between tiie military persecution descri- 
bed by Eusebiiis, and that which is mentioned by Laclantius, which might 
seem to make them distinct from each other. Laclanlrus says, that Diocletian 
punished no one capitally ; but Eusebius represents some as being put to death 
by Maximian. In Hict, I do not look upon tliis conjecture with contempt. Yet, 
not to dwell on the improbability that the two emperors, when fur separated 
from each other, should, at the same time, commit the same outrage ; what 
could have induced Lactantius to state the crime of Diocletian, and to omit 
tlie similar crime of Maximian, on whom he at other times charges all the evils 
brouglit by Diocletian on the Christians 1 If you say he was ignorant of the fact ; 
I answer, first, this is altogether incredible : and, secondly, I ask, how could 
Eusebius, a man not less well informed respecting the events of those times, than 
was the author of the treatise de Moriibus Persequutorum, and who represents 
the first outrage as that of Maximian, — how could he be ignorant that Dio- 
cletian committed the same outrage ? — Another method of removing the diffi- 
culty seems to be intimated by Lactantius himself, in his Institutiones Divincc, 
(L. iv. e. 27, p. 546, ed. Biinemann.) In treating of the interruption of the sa- 
cred rites of the haruspices by the Christians crossing their foreheads, he speaks 
as if not Diocletian solely, but also Maximian, were offering those sacrifices j 
for he speaks of (Domini) lords, in the plural, as being present : Quum enim 
quidam ministrorum e cultoribus Dei sacrificantibus Dominis assisterent, impo- 
sito frontibus signo, deos illorum fugaverunt. And, a little after : Aruspiees 
adegerunt Princifcs suos in furorem, ut expugnarent Dei templum. Now if, 
as these words seem to imply, Diocletian and Maximian were together, and 
both united in the sacrifices, then neither Lactantius nor Eusebius is wholly 
wrong ; but each has erred, by attributing an act of the two emperors to only 
one or the other of them. But from adopting this opinion, we are withheld 
by Lactantius himself, (de Mortibus Persequutor. c. 10, near tlie end.) where 
[p. 673.] he not obscurely shows, that the emperors were in different places at 
the time when Diocletian was enraged at the Christians for interrupting his re- 
ligious rites. And why, I ask, if Maximian was then with Diocletian, does he 
not mention his name, since he wished to make his villanies as notorious 
as possible ? Besides, every body knows, the plural number is often used in- 
stead of the singular, especially by those who, like Lactantius, speak or write 
in a rhetorical manner. In short, that the great persecution which the Chris- 
tians suffered under Diocletian in the subsequent century, commenced with thia 
Blight preclude at the close of this century, and was hurtful only to the soldiers 
and the residents in the palace, can admit of no question ; but against the sup- 
pf)sition of a twofold prelude, the one in the East and the other in the West, 
botn Eusebius and Lactantius stand equally opposed, for each of them mentions 
but one ; and, whether Diocletian or Maximian commenced the tragedy, 
remains in uncertainty. — I will subjoin a few remarks on the motive wliich, ac- 
cording to Lactantius, induced Diocletian to maltreat the Christian soldiers and 
officials of the palace. I cannot doubt that something of the kind narrated did 



Church Government, 115 

occur- but that the Christians, by cro9sin<T their foreheads, put demons to 
fljirht, and disturbed the emperor's divination, I cannot easily believe. Tho 
soothsaying art, we know, was a deception, invented to impose on the common 
people; and this was well understood by the wiser among the Romans, as ap- 
pears from Cicero's second Book de Divinatione. We therefore suppose that 
the crafty soothsayers, who were watching for an opportunity to bring down 
great evil upon the Christians, pretended that they could not sacrifice succesa- 
fully, on account of the presence of Christians, aiming to exasperate the feel- 
ings of the superstitious emperor; and the design succeeded. But the Chris- 
tians, who supposed that the evil spirit enacted all the frauds of the priests, 
had a belief in divination ; which, however, they could not have had, if they 
had consulted their reason. 

(3) Respecting the prosperous state of the Christians, before the com- 
mencement of the Diocletian persecution in the year 303, Eusebius treats at 
some length, (Hist. Eccles. L. viii. p. 291.) He says, the emperors showed 
great kindness to the Christians ; committed the government of provinces to 
some of them ; allowed their domestics, with tlieir children and servants, full 
liberty to profess the Christian religion ; and even seemed to have peculiar 
affection for their Christian attendants and servants. The governors of pro- 
vinces also, and the magistrates, paid great respect to the bishops. And hence, 
the Christian community daily received much enlargement, and churches were 
built in the several cities : neither could the calumnies and artifices of the ill- 
disposed disturb their tranquillity. But at the same time Eusebius freely ac- 
knowledges, with grief, that the Christians in the enjoyment of liberty fell into 
licentiousness and great vices ; they had internal broils and contests, congre- 
gation with congregation, and prelates with prelates ; frauds and dissimulation 
also, reached a very high pitch ; neither did thnt moderate chastisement [p. 574.] 
of the soldiers correct these vices ; but rather the Christians waxed worse and 
worse: the pastors disregarded the rules of religion in their mutual contests, 
affected the despotism of princes, and did various things unbecoming their cha- 
racter. These facts should be borne in mind, if we would justly appreciate 
the causes of the violent persecution soon after, under Diocletian. For the 
Christians, by their imprudent conduct, put weapons into the hands of their ad- 
versaries. For who can doubt, that the friends of the gods took occasion,, 
from the vices and the broils of the Christians, to instil into the emperors, that 
the interests of the republic required the utter extirpation of so turbulent a 
sect ; a sect that would not be quiet, but, abusing its prosperity, produced so 
great commotions in the state ? 

§ XXIII. Constitution and Government of the Church. The 

form or Constitution of tlie Christian church, which had been 
introduced in the preceding century, not only continued, for 
the most part, to exist in this century, but became confirmed 
and strengthened. Over the individual congregations of the 
larger cities, one person presided, with dignity and authority, 



116 Century Ill.^Scction 23. 

entitled tlic Bkliop ; but lie Avas allowed to decide notliing in 
private matters, without taking counsel witli tlie Preshyters ; and 
notliing in public matters pertaining to tlic whole church, with- 
out assembling and consulting the people.(') All Bishops^ as Avell 
as all Preshyters, were perfectly equal in rank and authority ; yet, 
for keeping up the consociation of the churches, the Bishop who 
governed the congregation in the principal city of a province, was 
entitled to some precedence and honor above the others. And 
the necessity for this regulation became greater, as councils Avere 
more frequently called together throughout the Christian com- 
monwealth, in Avliich the representatives of the churches delibe- 
rated and established rules for the common Avelfare of the wdiole 
province, or of several provinces. The cause Avhieh led one 
Bishop in a provmce to have a sort of preeminence over the 
rest, also procured a primacy and some anthority for the Bishops 
of the primary cities hi Asia, Africa, and Euroj^e ; among wdiom, 
unquestionably, the first place was assigned to the Bishop of 
the city of Eome. But as for any common judge of the whole 
church, or a Bishop of Bishops, performing the functions of a 
vicegerent of Christ, those times knew nothing of it.(") To the 
Deacons^ in the larger and more opulent churches, there Avere 
[p. 575.] added functionaries of loAv^er rank, Suhdeacons^ AcolytJdstSj 
Jcmitors, Lectors^ and Exorcists ; in consequence, as I apprehend^ 
of the fastidiousness and pride of the Deacons^ Avho, finding them- 
selves in gTcater affluence, Avere uiiAvilling to discharge the hum- 
ble offices Avhich they had previously never declined. (') 

(1) Respecting the authority and rights of presbijlers in tliis century, dccla- 
ations of the ancients have been collected in abundance, by David Blondell, in 
his Apologia pro senlentia Hieronymi de episcopis cl presbijieris, (p. 136, &c.) 
and many more, by Claud. Fonteius, (the assumed name of u celebrated theo- 
logian of the Pnrisian school, James Boilean,) in his treatise, (k antiquo jure 
freshyterorum in regimine ecdesiaslico, (Taurini, 1676, 12mo.) But there is one 
witness who may be ii substitute for all, namely Cyprian, one of the most 
strenuous vindicators of the high rank and authority of bishops. Although he 
lays claim to the highest distinction and prerogative, especially when heated by 
conflict with those who resist Jiis pleasure, yet he freely acknowledges in many 
passages of his Epistles, that he could decide no great question without con- 
sulting the clergy and presbyters. And although he sometimes acts inconsis- 
tently with his principles, and disregards the rights and prerogatives of tho 
people, yet when properly mast^jr of himeGjf, and more obedient to the law of 



Church Government. 117 

right than to self-will, ho doe3 not fail to show, that, in the government of tlio 
church, and in ecclesiastical jurisdiction, by no means the least part belongs to 
the common people. To save the render from the trouble ot searching them 
out, I will cite some passages to this purpose, so that my assertions may not 
appear unsupported. To his presbytera and Deacons he thus writes, (Ep. v. 
p. 11 ; al. Ep. .\iv. c. 4) : Ad id vero, quod scripserunt milii compresbyteri nos- 
tri Donatus et Fortunatus, Novatus et Gordius, solus rcscriberc nihil potuiy 
quando a primordio episcopatus mei stalnerini nihil sine consilio vestrOj (i. e., of 
ihe presbyters and deacons,) el sine consensu plebis mea privalim senteniia ge- 
rcre. Sed cum ad vos per Dei gratiam venero, tunc de iis, quse vel gesta sunt 
vel gcrenda, sicut honor muluus poscit, in commune traclabimus. Here Cyprian 
expresses himself with precision ; for he says he oitghi, in the more important 
cases, to ask the (consiliiun) advice of the presbyters and deacons; but that 
only the (consensus) consent of the people was requisite. The bishop, there- 
fore, deliberated on business matters with the presbyters, and not with the 
people ; and the course which he and the clergy deemed suitable, was proposed 
to the people assembled for the purpose, and they either approved or rejected 
it. For the common people could either sanction or annul ; they were not 
obliged to ratify, whatever the bishop and his counsellors had decided upon. 
A similar passage occurs in Epistle xiii. (p. 23, al. Ep. xix. ad Presbyteros et 
Diaconos, e. 2.) Hoc et verecundios et discipUncc et vitae ipsi omnium nostrum 
co?nenil, id Prccpositi cum clero convenienles, pncsente etiam stantium plehe^ 
quibus et ipsis pro fide et timore suo honor habendus est, disponere omnia consilii 
communis religione possimus. Being requested by the presbyters and [p. 576.] 
deacons to decide the case of two deacons and an acolythist, who, having 
h\psed, again returned to the church, he replies most explicitly, (Ep. xxviii. p. 
39 ; al. Ep. xxxiv. ad presbyt. et Diaconos, c. 4) : Desiderastis quoque, ut de Phi- 
lumeno et Fortunate hypodiaconis et Favorino Acolylho, qui medio tempore 
recesserunt, et nunc venerunt, quid milii videatur, rescribam. Cui rei non 
potui ms solum judicsm dare, cum muUi adhuc de clero absentes sint, nee locum 
8uum vel sero repetendum putaverunt, et hccc singulorum iractanda sit et 
limanda plenius ratio, non tantum cum colkgis meis, sed et cum plebe ipsa uni- 
versa. When he had created a lector and a subdeacon, without consulting the 
presbyters, he excuses the deed to his clergy on the ground of necessity, (Ep. 
xxiv. p. 33 ; al Ep. xxix. ad Presbyt. et Diacon.) ; Fecisse me autem sciatis lec- 
torem Saturum et hypodiaconum Optatum eonfcssorem, quos Jam pridem corn- 
muni consilio clero proximos feceramus. - - Nihil ergo a me absentibus vobis no- 
vum factum est; sed quod jam pridem communi consilio omnium nostrum 
cccperal, necessitate urgente, promotum est. Cyprian then, by his own confession, 
would have done something {novum) new, and contrary to former usage, if he 
had constituted even the lowest officials of the church, lectors and subdeacons, 
without consul ling the presbyters. There are examples, I am aware, of Cy- 
prian's creating presbyters and lectors, without the consent of the clergy and 
people ; e. g. Numidicus, whom he created a presbyter, (Ep. xxxv. p. 48 ; al. 
Ep. xl.) and Celerinus and Aiireliiis, and perhaps others, whom ho made lec- 
tors with the concurrence of only a few of the clergy, (Ep. xxxiii. et xxxiv. 



118 Century III— Section 2Z. 

p. 46, &c. ; al. Ep. xxxviii. et xxxix.) But all these were Confessors, and had 
given proofs of their constancy and fortitude. And Confessors enjoyed tliis 
prerogative in the ancient church, that they seemed to be elected and desig- 
nated for the sacred office, as it were, by God himself; and therefore they 
might be received into the sacred order, by the bishop alone, without the suf- 
frages of the clergy and the people. And so, in this act, the ancient usages 
were not violated, but rather followed out. The correctness of these state- 
ments will be seen by such as read those Epistles of Cyprian to his presbyters 
and people, in which he relates the admission of these men to offices, or, in the 
phraseology of Terlullian, their (CoUeclio in Clerum) enrollment among the 
• clergy. Tiie Epistle which relates to Aurelius, (E])ist. xxxiii. al. xxxviii. ad 
clerum et ad plebem,) commences thus: Cyprianus presbyteris et diaconis et 
iplebi univeri^a3 salutem! In ordinationibus clerlcorum, fratres carissimi, sole- 
mus vos ante consulere et mores et merita singulorum communi consilio pon- 
derare. (Here we have the common and ordinary usage ; the extraordinary 
usage, or the prerogative, so to speak, of Confessors, next follows.) Sed ex- 
pectanda non sunt iesiimonia liumana, cum prccaedunt divina suffragia ; that is, 
the suffrages of the clergy and people are not necessary in the. case of 
Confessors, whom God has declared worthy of the sacred office, by the grace 
[p. 577.] which he has given them. And yet Cyprian had not acted alone in 
this case, but in conjunction with some presbyters ; for he adds, (ibid, c. 2) : 
Hunc igitur, fratres dilectissimi, a me et a coUegis, qui prccsentes aderani, ordina- 
tum sciatis. In like manner he speaks of Celerinus the lector, (Epist. xxxiv. 
p. 47 ; al. Ep. xxxix, c. 1) : Ego et coUegcc mei, qui prccsentes aderant, referrimus 
ad vos, Celerinum fratrem nostrum virtutibus, pariter et moribus gloriosura 
clero nostro, non humana sujfragatwne, (i. e. not by the suffrages of the clergy 
and people,) sed divina dignaiiune (which God manifested, by giving him forti- 
tude under tortures,) conjunctum. After a sentence or two, Cyprian adds: 
iN'ec fas fuerat, nee decebat sine honore ecclesiastico esse, quern sic Doininus ho- 
noravil ccelestis gloria dignitale. Those unacquainted with ancient customs and 
opinions, may not know the meaning of this last citation ; and the annotators on 
Cyprian pass it over, as they do many things which need to be explained by 
reference to ancient usages. I will therefore explain how God ccelestis gloriae 
dignitale lionoraxerit Celerinum, an illustrious Confessor, who for nineteen days 
had been under torture, and bore in his body many scars of his wounds. The 
souls of Martyrs and Confessors, on leaving the body, were supposed to ascend 
immediately to glory, but not so the souls of other Christians, which had to 
await the final advent of the Judge, in a certain intermediate state. See, among 
others, TertuUian, (de Aniraa, c. 55, p. 353, &:c,) where he says : Nullis romphcca 
paradisi janatrix cedit,nisi qui in Christo decesserit (the Martyrs,) non in Adam ? 
Nova mors pro Deo, el extraordinaria pro Christo, alio et privato exeipitur hos- 
pitio. Ilabes etiam de paradise a nobis libellum, quo constituimus, omnem ani- 
mam (leaving the body by a natural death,) apud inferos (in an intermediate 
place,) sequestrari in diem Domini. He therefore who, by God's assistance, had 
been superior to tortures, obtained a title to celestial glory, and he was by God 
publicly honored with that distinction. Cyprian then means to say : That to the 



Church Government. 119 

man whom God li.is declared an heir of celestial glory, and to whom he his as- 
signed a place among the glorified souls immediately after death, ought to bo 
assigned a place among the leaders and ministers of the church militant. — The. 
same account is given by Cyprian^ in the case of Numidicus, a distinguished 
Confessor, whom he had received among the presbyters, without the consent 
of the clergy and people, (Ep. xxxv. p. 49; al. Ep. xl.) : Nam admonitos nos et 
instructos sciatis, dignadone. duincL, (this is explained above,) ut Numidicus 
presbyter ad-^cribaturpresbyterorum Carthaginensium numero et nobiscum se- 
deat in clero, luce clarissima confessionis illustris. We here learn the ground 
of tiie custom, in the ancient church, of receiving into the sacred order Confes- 
sors, though unlearned and not duly qualified. They reasoned thus: Confes- 
sors, by the resolution and firmness of their minds in confronting tortures and 
death, have obtained througli grace a title to celestial felicity, which [p. 578.] 
other Christians have not ; it is therefore right and proper, that those to whom 
God has vouchsafed so great honor, should also be honored by the church, and 
be elevated above other Christians. Neither is it necessary that the clergy 
and people should, as in other cases, approve of their admission to the rank of 
fathers of the church. The divine suftrage is sufficient; and the bishop, on 
ascertaining that fact, may proceed, without a consultation with the clergy and 
people, to admit them to the sacred order. 

But we return from a digression. There is no passage in Cyprian which 
more clearly demonstrates, that the clergy and the people shared with the bishop 
the power of governing the church, than one in his 27th Epistle, (p. 37, 38 ; 
al. Epist. xxxiii. c. 1.) ; and I wonder tliat it should escape the attention of the 
learned, who have treated of this subject. The Epistle commences thus: Do- 
minus noster, cujus praeccpta et monita observare debemus, episcopi honorem 
et ecclesiae sua3 rationcm disponens in evangelio loquitur et dicit Petro : Ego tibi 
dico, quia tu es Petrus, et super istara petram aedificubo ecclesiam nieam, et 

portse inferorum non vincent earn, &;e, Inde per temporum et succes- 

sionum vices episcoporum ordinatio et ecclesise ratio decurrit, ut ecclesia super 
episcopos constUuatur, et omnis actus ecclesicc per eosdem prccpositos gubernetur. 
Cum hoc itaque divina lege fundatum sit, miror, quosdam audaci temeritate sic 
mihi scribere voluisse, ut ecclesiaj nomine litteras facerent, quando ecclesia 
in episcopo et clero et in omnibus stantibus sit constituta. The reasoning of 
Cyprian in this passage deserves contempt ; for no one can suppose, with him, 
that the words of Christ to Peter here cited, define the rights of the church 
and of the bishops. The doctrines, however, which he professes, deserve re- 
gard; for. First, he most explicitly declares the church to be super episcopos 
constitutam, or, to be superior to the bishops ; from which it follows, that su- 
preme power in ecclesiastical affairs is vested in the church ; and that the 
bishop, without the church, can decide and determine nothing. Secondly, he 
tells us what he would have us understand by the word church; and affirms 
that to the church belong, not merely the clergy, but also omnes stanles, that is, 
the whole multitude of persons who have not, by any of the greater sins, nor 
by defection from Christianity, merited exclusion from the number of the bre- 
thren, and therefore continue stedfast in the faitii. Thirdly, he teaches that 



120 Century III.— Section 23. 

actum omnem eccJesicc guhernari ah episcopo, or that the biohop presides in the 
meetings of the church, states the subjects to be discussed, and collects the suf- 
frag-es or opinions given. More tli.in tliis cannot be here intended, by the 
word guhcrnari, because he had declared the church to be tlie greater and supe- 
rior to the bishop. For the church would be the lesser and inferior to the bishop, 
if guhernare here meant to prescribe the decisions and demand an approbation 
of the bi;<hop's own personal judgment. The church must nccess-arily be free to 
[p. 579.] act its own pleasure, if it be true, that it has more power and authority 
than the bishop. LaslJy, he decides that all these are the precepts of Christ, 
or divina lege fundata : with what truth lie could so affirm need not be 
inquired ; it is sufficient that he thought it to be so. From this language there- 
fore the learned men may correct their views, who attempt to persuade us that 
Cyprian, whenever he calls the clergy and people to his aid, and associates him- 
self with them, does so, not in obedience to law and right, but only from mo- 
desty and a regard for prudence. He himself denies the truth of this opinion, 
and bids us believe, that the bishop who shall decide any matter of much im- 
portance without consultln_g- the clergy and people, will violate a mandate and 
law of our Savior. 

(2) So numerous and strong are the testimonies to the liberty and equality 
of the Christian churches in this century, adduced long since by learned men, 
in the great controversy respecting the primacy of the Roman bishop, that it 
would seem the persons who maintain that one church had power and a sort 
of jurisdiction over the rest, must be chargeable with a greater devotion to 
their sect and to their early imbibed opinions, than to the truth. Those who 
contend that in this century, as well as in subsequent times, all the European 
churches were subject to the bishop of Rome, think they find great support for 
their opinion in the writings of Cyprian ; which may seem very strange to the 
impartial judges of the subject, who know, that from this same writer the de- 
fenders of the opposite opinion derive their principal arguments in support of 
the opinion that the church, in this century, recognized no visible head or su- 
preme bishop. One of two things must be true ; either one or the other of 
the contending parties must have misinterpreted Cyprian, or Cyprian is not con- 
sistent w-ith him.self, and had very obscure and indeterminate ideas respecting 
the nature of the church. I will exhibit the arguments on both sides, and then 
give my own judgment in the matter. First: The still extant Epistles of 
Cyprian to Cornelius, Lucius, and Stephen, bishops of Rome, and also some 
Epistles of Cornelius to Cyprian, are written in a manner that makes it evident 
that no one of them even thought of any difft-rence as to jurisdiction, rank, 
and station among them. In that age, as well as in this, when inferiors wrote 
to their superiors, or superiors to their inferiors, they distinguished themselves 
from the persons they addressed, by certain titles and modes of expression; 
although the propensity for adulation and for arrogance had not then reached 
the height to which it subsequently arose. But nothing of this kind can yon 
discover in the Epistles I have mentioned. Cyprian addresses the Romish 
bishops in the same style as he addresses other bishops, and calls them simply 
(JraLres et coUegas) Brothers and Colleagues ; and Cornelius addresses Cyprian 



Church Government. 121 

in the same style, and drops not n, syllable which can be eoiisidcrtd as indic:u 
live of any jurisdiction or authority. Indeed, Cyprian ia himself the most 
assuming, and not only reproves Stephen severely for claiming some dignity 
and power, but also most freely censures Cornelius, when he thought hini 
in error, and recalls him to his duty. I well recollect, that Peter de Marca, (do 
concordi:; sacerdotii et imperii, L. vii. e. 1, p. 988,) as well as many [p. 58U.J 
others, attempts to prove from Cyprian's Epistle to Stephen, concerning Marrian, 
bishop of Aries, (Epist. Ixvii. p. 115; al. Ep. Ixviii. c. 2,) that Cyprian acknow- 
ledged the primacy of Stephen in the church ; for, in this Epistle, Cyprian 
exhorts Stephen " to write in the fullest manner to the bishops of both Gauls, 
that they should no longer suffer Marcian, the friend of Novatian, to insult the col- 
lege of bishops :" from which the great de Marca infers, that Stephen had some 
jurisdiction over the bishops in Gaul. But Stephen Baluze, (in his notes on 
the passage, p. 488,) is more cautious, and concludes that Cyprian well knew 
" that the defence of the canons was committed to the bishop of Rome ;" that is, 
this learned man interprets the passage according to the views of the Gallican 
church. But I will leave it to all impartial persons to judge whether there ia 
any force in such reasoning as this: Cyprian admonishes Stephen to write to 
the bishops of Gaul about excluding Marcian; therefore Cyprian believed that 
Stephen had some jurisdiction over the Gallic bishops. Who does not know, 
that even we ourselves are accustomed every day to exhort those over whom 
we have no kind of authority or power? 

Secondly : Cyprian's contest with the Roman bishop Stephen, respecting 
the baptisms of heretics, which we have stated above, has vast weight, in proof 
that nobody, in that age, ascribed to the Romish prelate the honor of being su- 
preme judge in all religious controversies. Indeed, those on the opposite side 
cannot deny this; and therefore they resort to every expedient to cast this 
great contest into the shade. Cyprian, having assembled several bishops, de- 
cided with them, that all heretics coming over to the church, ought to be again 
baptized ; and this decision of his council he transcribed and sent to the Ro- 
man Stephen, not on account of any official relation to him, or any law re- 
quiring it, but solely as a matter of courtesy. He says (Epist. Ixxii. p. 129, 
c. 4,) : Haec ad conscientiam tuam, frater carissinie, et pro honore communi et 
pro simplici dilectione pertulimus. Stephen disapproved this decision, and an- 
swered Cyprian haughtily : the latter, despising his menaces, held firmly to the 
decision, and, assembfing a still larger council, fortified it with new and stronger 
supports. Stephen, thus situated, did not, as is commonly stated, cast Cyprian 
out of the church, but only declared him unworthy of his communion. Cyprian 
contemned this ebullition of wrath ; and the other bishops felt very indignant 
at it. These were most certainly the facts ; and who that reads or hears them, 
can bring himself to believe that the Roman pontiff or bishop then possessed 
any supreme power or sovereignty ? Some perhaps will say, that Cyprian did 
wrong, and being heated by passion, overstepped the boundaries of respect due 
to the Roman bishop. But this is a hasty ajid futile objection. For if Cypriar. 
had done any thing inconsistent with his duty, he would have been reproved 
ard deserted by the other bishops. They, however, did not think that Cyprian 



122 Century III.— Section 23. 

had done wrong, but that Stephen was in fault. And this seems to put it beyond 
. [p. 581.] all controversy, that if perhaps, some priority in lioncr, yet none in 
power or jurisdiction was then conceded to the Romish prelate. 

Thirdly: The writings and acts of Cyprian while this contest was going 
on, afford also very clear testimony on tliis subject. In iiis 71st Epistle, (:id 
Quintam, p. 127, c. 3,) he denies that Peter had any primacy of authority: 
Nam nee Petrua, quern primum Doniinus elegit, et super quern aedificavit ec- 

clesiani suam, vindicavit sibi aliquid insolenter aut arroganter assumsit, ut 

diceret, se primatum tenere, et obtemperari a novellis et pesteris sibi oportere. 
If then, according to Cyprian, Peter himself held no primacy, and neither could 
enact any inviolable laws, nor wished to do it, how could he ascribe any primacy 
to Peter's successor, so much his inferior? In his 73d Epistle, (p. 137, c. 26, 
and elsewhere,) he teaches, that all bishops are independent, and subject to the 
power of no one: Unusquisiue episcoporum. quod putat, facial, habens arbilrii 
sui liberam poteslalem. How very different is this declaration from the opinion 
of those who say, all bishops ought to be in subjection to the bishoi) of Rome? 
Still more clearly and fully does he express himself in his Address at the 
opening of the Concilium Cathaginense de hasreticis baptizandis, (p. 329) : 
Neque enim quisquam nostrum episcopum se esse episcoporum constituit, aut 
tyrannico terrore ad obsequendi necessitatem collegas suos adigit, qiiando ha- 
heat omnis episcopus pro licentia liberlalis et poteslalis sua; arbilrium proprium, 
tamque judicari ah alio non possil, quam nee ipse potest allerum judicare. Sed 
expectemus univer si judicium Domini noslri Jesu Chrisli, qui unus et solus habet 
potestatem et pra^ponendi nos in ecclesia: sucn qubernatione et de acta noslri judi- 
candi. This language needs no interpreter. 

I pass over other passages of similar import, and will add only one more, 
which is the more pertinent and forcible, because it occurs in an Epistle to the 
Roman bishop himself, Cornelias, (Epist. Iv. p. 86 ; al. Ep. lix. c. 20) : Nam 
cum statutum sit ab omnibus nobis, et a3quum sit pariter ac justum, ut uniuscu- 
jusque caussa illic audiatur, ubi est crimen admissum, et singulis pastoribus por- 
iio gregis sit adscripla, quam regat unusquisque et gubernat, ralionem sui actus 
Domino redditurus, oportet utique eos, quibus prsesumus, non circumcursare, nee 
episcoporum concordiam cohccrentem - - collidere, sed agere illic caussam suam^ 
vbi et accusatores habere et testes sui criminis possini ; nisi si panels desperatis 
et perditis minor videtur esse auctoritas episcoporum in Africa constitutorum, 
qui jam de illis judicaverunt. Felicissimus and Fortunatus, two enemies of 
Cyprian, had gone to Rome, and implored the aid of Cornelius. Cyprian felt 
greatly troubled at this. He first wrote to Cornelius, reminding him that it 
had been established by the common consent of all the bishops, that every cri- 
minal should be tried where the crime had been committed. Now, from this it 
clearly appears, that all Christian bishops were on a level with each other, or 
[p. 582.] were equals as to power; and that no individual among them held the 
office of supreme judge. What follows will make this still more evident. For 
he says : (ii.) That to the bishops severally, portions of the flock of Christ were 
committed, to be governed by each bishop according to his own discretion and 
judgment only, (iii.) That no bishop had any judge, lord, or master, who could 



Church Government. 123 

call him to account for his acts, except Jesus Christ. Therefore, (iv.) that a 
sentence passed by one bishop, cannot in any way be corrected or chanjred by 
the others. And he adds (v.) lastly, that the aathority of the African bishops 
was not inferior to that of tiie Roman prelate; and that those who would ac- 
count them inferior to him (homines esse desperatos el perdiios) were men of a 
desperate and abandoned character. 

But to these testimonies, so clear and unequivocal, the friends of the Ro. 
man pontiff oppose others, in which Cyprian himself seems to enervate what 
he had so often said respecting the equality of all bishops, and to attribute to 
the Romish prelate a sort of sovereignty and superior authority. For they ob- 
serve, that in many passages Cyprian adirms : Jesum Christum ccclesiam suam 
super Peirum originem unilatis et rationis fundasse. 1 will cite only one pas- 
sage of this kind, which occurs in Epistle Ixxiii. (p. 131, c. 7): Nam Petrc 
primum Dominus, super quem aedificavit ecclesiam, et unde unitatis originem 
instituit et ostendit, potestatem istam dedit, ut id solveretur in coelis, quod ille 
solvisset in terris. Et post resurrectionem quoque ad Apostolos loquitur, &c. 
— Again, they urge, that on account of this dignity conferred on Peter ]>/ 
Christ, Cyprian (Epist. Iv. p. 86; al. Ep. lix. c. 19,) calls the Romish church: 
Petri calhedram atque ecclesiam principalem, unde unilas sacerdotalis orta est. — 
But they especially urge a passage from his treatise de Unilate Ecdesicc, (p. 195, 
&.C., c. 4.) I will cite the pass;ige as it stands in the edition of Baluze; but it 
is well known that the ancient copies disagree, and it is justly suspected, or ni- 
ther proved, that zeal for the honor of the Romish church has induced some 
learned men in time past to corrupt and enlarge the passage to suit their own 
views and desires. Loquitur Dominus nd Petrum : Ego tibi dico, inquit, quia 
tu cs Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam. - - Et iterum 
eidem post resurrectionem suamdicit: Pasco oves meas. Super ilium unum 
acdificat ecclesiam suam, et illi pascendas mandat oves suas. Et quamvis 
Apostolis omnibus post resurrectionem suam parem potestatem tribuat, et 
dicat : Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos, accipite Spiritura sanctum - - 
tameu ut unitatem manifestaret, unitatis ejusdem originem ab uno inci[)ientem 
sua auctoritate disposuit. Hoc erant utique et ceteri Apostoli, quod fait Petrus, 
pari consortia pncditi et honoris et potestatis, sed exordium ex unitate proficisci- 
tur, et primatus Petro datur, ut una Christi ecclesia et cathedra una monstre- 
tur. - - Hanc ecclesioe unitatem qui non tenet, tenere se fidem credit? Qui ec- 
clesiae renititur et resistit, qui cathedram Petri, super quem fundata [p. 583.] 
est ecclesia, deserit, in ecclesia se esse confidit 1 From these extracts, distin- 
guished men think it can be proved, that Cyprian regarded the Roman bishop 
as presiding over the whole church, and represented him to be its common 
judge and legislator ; and that this opinion was not held by Cyprian alone, but by 
that age, and by the whole church. Those who, in reply, would cut the matter 
short, may say: First., that Cyprian here states his own private opinion ; but 
that there is no evidence to show, that the whole church thought as he did. 
Others indeed, in times subsequent to Cyprian, said nearly the same thing-; 
but they copied from him. For the influence of this bishop and martyr ainono 
Christians was immense, and his opinions were regarded by many as divine 



124 Century IILSectloti 23. 

oracles. Yet Cyprian, us will not be denied, even by those who consider hinn 
a very great and holy man, had imbibed many futile, vain and superstitious nc» 
tions, and also cherished some remarkable errors; and hence we ought to en- 
quire, whether his opinion accords wi;h the truth, or whether it should be 
placed among the errors which he indulged. ]t' this dogma of his is to be es- 
timated by the arguments and proofs which he adduces to support it, I fear it 
cannot be ranked with tliose which no man of sound mind can rtject. — • 
Secondly: Let it be considered, that Cyprian nowhere ascribes i\\ixi primacy of 
which he speaks, to the Romish bishop, but to the Romish church. But the (ec- 
clesia) church, as we have before sliowii, in Cypriaji's estimation, was above 
or superior to the bishop, and consisted of the bishop and the clergy, and the 
whole multitude of the (slanlium) the faithful, united. If then it were per- 
fectly certain, as some learned men think it is, that Cyprian attributed to the 
Romish church a primacy over all churches, his opinion cannot by any means be 
transferred to the Romish bishop or pontiff; for his opinion will be precisely 
this: The entire Christian population of Rome, together with their clergy and 
bisliop, have power over the universal church. But how wide is this from the 
opinion of those who think the Romish prehite sustains the office of Christ's 
vicegerent ! 

But, laying aside these answers, although they are not to be despised, let us 
come to close combat. The passages from Cyprian, cited on the side opposed 
to the Pontifical claims, beyond all controversy, contain these principles: All 
the bishops in the Christian church, have equal powers and prerogatives ; none 
of them is under any other lord or judge, than Jesus Christ. And, the African 
bishops are in no respect inferior to the bishop of Rome. But the passnges 
cited on the side of the defenders of the Pontiff, contain, according to their 
interpretation, the following doctrine: There is one bishop in the church, who 
rules over all the rest, namely, the bishop of Rome; and, therefore, the African 
bishops are inferior to the bishop of Rome, and ought to yield obedience to his 
commands and decrees. These two opinions, as is manifest, contradict each 
other. And, therefore, one of two things must be true; either Cyprian contra- 
[p. 684.] diets himself, and brings forward directly opposite opinions ondiflerent 
occasions ; or the passages on one of the sides must be so explained and under- 
stood, as not to conflict, but to harmonize, with those on the other. Now let 
the learned men, who are so solicitous about the dignity of the Romish church 
and the supreme Pontitf, choose which side they please of this alternative. If 
they choose the first, and admit that Cuprian has advanced contradictory opin- 
ions, his authority is gone, and nothing can be proved or inferred from his 
declarations. For what credit or authority is due to the man, who talks absurdly 
and advocates opinions contradictory to each other? The latter part of the 
alternative therefore must be tried, and the passages of one sort must be so 
explained that they will accord or harmonise with the others. Now, by universal 
consent, it is an established rule, tiiat light controls and illumines darkness; 
that is, the obscure and ambiguous passages of a book, are to be elucidated and 
explnined by the passages which are ck-ar and perspicuous; for it would be 
preposterous to guage and measure the import of passages in which there was 



Church Qovcrnmcnt. J 25 

no obscurity or amlig-nity, by other passages wliieli are enigmatical and ailmit 
of many explanations. Now if this rale is to bo applied in the pre>;ent ease, 
as undoubtedly it should be, 1 think all will agree, that the passages of Cyprian 
wjiieh speak of the unity of the church, its being founded on Peter, and tho 
primacy of the Romish see. must be understood and explained in such a way 
as not to conflict with the passages which affirm the parity and independence 
of . •ill bishops; for the latter passages are clear and perspicuous, and will not 
admit of various interpretations; but the former, relative to the unity, &c. 
though of frequent occurrence, are not perspicuous, and will admit of diverse 
exphmalions. According to the rules of correct reasoning, then, we cannot 
suppose that Cyprian ascribed to the Romi>h church a sort of primacy of pow- 
er, and a sort of chil unily of the universal church, a unity as to authority and 
control, like that in states or republics, which arc governed by the will of one 
man. For such a primacy and such a unily would subvert and destroy that 
independence and equality of all the bishops, which he most strenuously main- 
tains. On the contrary, in our judgment, it must have been, that the holy man 
revolved in his mind such a unUij of the church, as would accord with his belief 
of the equal rights of all bishops; and such a primacy of the Romish church, as 
would comport with his decision, That the African bishops are not inferior to 
the bishops of Rome, and that what they decree, cannot be reversed or altered, 
either by the Roman bishop, or by all the other bishops ; which decision Cyprian 
states in almost these very terms. 

If any one should here ask for a correct explanation of this primacy and this 
vnityaa maintained by Cyprian, I will readily answer, respecting the primacy. 
Among all the Christian churches, Cyprian assigned the first place to the Romish 
church ; for reasons, indeed, that are very weak and futile, yet such as satisfied 
him. Whether this was his private opinion, or whether he expresses the gene- 
ral views of the churi.'h, is another question, wdiich I shall leave untouched. 
And yet I will not deny, that from the time the Christians embraced the idea 
that the Christian church had in some sort the form of a body politic, the com- 
mencement or origin of the combination was always traced to the [p. 585.] 
Romish church. But, as to the unity which Cyprian attributed to the church, 
and which he says originated from the Romish church, it is not so easy to an- 
swer. And I suspect, that Cyprian himself would have felt himself embarrass- 
ed, if he had been called upon to explain the nature of this unity in clear and 
definite terms. For, on this subject, which he represents as being of \c.Yf 
great importance, he yet speaks so vaguely and with so little uniformity, that 
we can readily perceive, he had no very distinct conception of it in his own 
mind. Those are exceedingly mlstikcn, who suppose that Cyprian, Tcrtullian, 
and the other Clirlstian writers of that age, clearly understood whatever they 
taught and inculcated with great earnestness : so far from it, they annex dilTorcnt 
ideas to the same terms, as the subject and convenience seem to call for them ; 
which is evidence, that their minds needed light, and that they entertained vague 
and indeterminate notions. And yet this unily of the church, which Cyprian 
go liighly extols, and the commencement of which he places in the Roir.ish 
church, may be elucidated, in some sort, provided wc may, from a part of the 



126 Century III.— Section 23. 

tmj'/y, judge of the wliole. That unity, which ought to prevail in the universal 
church, actually existed, and ought to exist, in the African church, over which 
Cypri;in presided; as he tells us repeatedly, and it cannot be questioned. 
Therefore, from the xm'xly in tiie African church, we may learn what kind of 
unity Cyprian supposed to exist in the universal church. Now the African 
bishops were upon a footing of perfect equality, as to power and jurisdiction: 
each could sanction and establish what he deemed salutary and proper in his 
own church, without being accountable for his acts to any one save Jesus 
Christ. This we learn from the lips of Cijprian himself. And yet there was a 
primacy in this same church, composed as it was of members all equal ; and that 
primacy was in the church of Carthage. Moreover this primacy was necessary, 
because unity was necessary in the African church. As, therefore, the sacerdo- 
tal unity in the universal church, emanated from the church of Rome, so in the 
African, it originated from the church of Carthage. That unity, with the pri- 
macy on which it was based, was no obstacle to the parity, and equality in pow- 
ers, of the bishops; and, on the other hand, the equality of the bishops was no 
obstruction to the primacy and the unity. All that this unity required, was, that 
all the bishops in the province of Africa, should concede the first place in point 
of rank, to the bishop of Carthage : that on subjects of graver moment, they 
should communicate with him, and ask his opinion ; but that they should follow 
that opinion was not necessary; that they should go to the conventions or 
councils held on great questions, at the summons of the primate; and, lastly? 
that they should observe and follow out what was decided upon by common 
consent in those councils. The manner of proceeding in these councils, we 
learn distinctly from the Acta magni Concilii Carlhaginensis de baptizandis 
haereticis, in the Works of Cyprian, p. 329. The primate, or head of the unity^ 
stated the business for which they were assembled, and gave his colleagues the 
fullest liberty to express their opinions. His own opinion was given last of all. 
If they disagreed, and the subject did not pertain to an essential point of reli- 
[p. 5S6.] gion, each bishop was at liberty to follow his ov/n judgment; as the 
oration of Cyprian, at the opening of that council, puts beyond all controversy. 
Such a unity, and such a primacy m the universal church, Cyprian conceived of: 
nor could he have conceived of any other, unless we would make the holy man 
to be totally ignorant of his own sentiments and meaning. That is, he con- 
ceived that all bishops ought to be so connected with the Romish church, as to 
concede to it the same rank which Peter had among the Apostles, namely, the 
first rank ; and so as to recur to it in doubtful cases of great moment, reserving 
to themselves, however, the right of dissenting from its judgment, but still re- 
maining in its communion if practicable. If he had any thing more than this in 
his mind, and I will not atfirm positively that he had not, yet this, at least, is 
evident, beyond all question, that he contemplated nothing of such a nature as 
would invest the Romish prelate with any sovereignty or power over the 
whole church. 

Into this my opinion, I am confident all those will come, who shall atten- 
tively consider what Cyprian has said respecting the unity of the church, and 
the consequent primacy of the Romish church. The whole subject may be 



Church Government. 127 

comprelicndf?d in the following propositions: the truth or falsehood of which I 
leave out of consideration. (I) Jesus Christ foundea his church on Peter. 
Yet (II) He did not (rive to Peter any power over the other Apostles, or any 
Bovcreigjity and primacy of jurisdiction over them. But (III) after IJis resur- 
rection, he conferred the same power on all the Apostles. (IV,) On Peter, 
however, he conferred this power first, and afterwards on the Apostles ; in 
order to indicate that, uniLalis originem ah uno incipere debere. I clioosc to use 
Cyp'ian's words rather than my own: for I must confess, I am unable to com- 
prehend perfectly the force of his reasoning, or the meaning of his language. 
(V.) Omnes igilur Aposloli, says Cyprian himself, id eranl, quod Pelrus fuil^ 
pari consorlio frccditi et honoris et poleslalis. We may here observe, that Cy- 
prian does not leave to Peter even a primacy of honor or rank. (VI) At quo- 
niam exordium ab unilale pro/iciscilu?; ideo j^rimalus (but of what sort ? Hav- 
ing very clearly divested Peter of any primacy of power or honor, what primacy 
could he leave to him ? If a man is not superior to others either in hoiwr or in 
power, in what respects can he be superior to them ?) Peiro datus est, ul una 
Christi ecclesia et cathedra una monstretur. Let others explain this : I will not 
attempt it. (VII) The Romish bishop represents Peter ; the other bishops 
represent the Apostles. (VIII) The respect, therefore, which the other Apos- 
tles pnid to Peter, must the bishops show to the Romish prelate. (IX) But 
Peter was not superior to the other Apostles, either in power or in honor : 
therefore, also, all the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are not infe- 
rior to Peter's successor, neither in power nor in honor. (X) Yet as Christ 
made Peter the beginning and source of the church's unity, therefore the 
other apostles, although perfectly his equals, owed him some honor as being 
the source of the church's unity. And of course, the same thing is [p. 587.] 
incumbent on the bishops, towards the successor of Peter. (XI) Consequent- 
ly, the Romish church is the principal church, and from it flowed the sacerdotal 
unity, namely, through Peter. (XTI) Therefore whoever separates himself 
from the chair of Peter, tears himself from the church, which is one, and has 
the source of its unity in the church of Rome. Yet, according to Cyprian's 
views, those do not forsake the chair of Peter, who reject the decisions and de- 
crees of the Ptomish bishop, and think differently from him in religious mat- 
ters. For he himself had rejected the decision of Stephen respecting the bap- 
tisms of heretics; and had rebuked, not only Stephen, but also Cornelius; and 
yet he had not forsaken the chair of Peter, but remained still in the church's 
unity. — Those who are able, may digest and comprehend all this : it is sutTi- 
cient for my purpose, that Cyprian has so stated, and nearly the whole in the 
very words now given. And how greatly these propositions differ from the 
©pinion of those writers, who would make the Roman bishop the judge and 
legislator of the universal church, must be obvious to every one. 

(3) Yet I will not contend, if any persons are disposed to offer a more 
honorable reason for the creation of those minor officers, and should say, per- 
haps, that they were devised, in order that the candidates for holy orders might 
go through a sort of preparation and trial of their fitness for the office of dea- 
cons. To the office of a deacon, and especially in the African church, much 



128 Century ITl—Scction 24. 

dignity and honor were nttuched in this century. It might therefore be thought 
hazardous, to receive aspirants to tiiis ofhce, without some previous trial of 
tlieir fitness. 

§ XXIV. The Preroa:atives and PoAvers of the Bishops much enlarg- 
ed. Althougli tlic ancient and venerable form of clmrcli govern- 
ment wliicli was sanctioned by tlie Apostles, might seem in gene- 
ral to remain iindisturbed, yet it was gradually deflected more 
and more from the ancient model, and, in the larger congregations 
especiall}^, assumed the nature of a monarchical government. 
For, as is common in human affairs, the bishops, who presided 
over the congregations, arrogated to themselves much more dig- 
nity and authority than they had before possessed, and the ancient 
rights, not only of the people but also of the presbyters, they 
first abridged, and then wholly subverted, directing all the 
affairs of their communities according to their own pleasure. 
And, lest this should appear to be done rashly and wrong- 
full v, they devised and set forth new doctrines respecting the 
church and the office and authority of bishops, which they seem 
not to have fully understood themselves. In this business, Cy- 
prian was an example to his brethren in this century ; for, being 
himself a bishop, and, as cannot be denied, of an aspiring and 
ambitious disposition, he contended most strenuously for the 
[p. 588.] honor and the power of bishops, and, lest those pre- 
rogatives, which he thought belonged to them, should in any 
measure be wrested from them, he labored to establish them on 
stable and immoveable foundations. And, as the influence of 
this man, both while he lived and after his decease, was very re- 
markable, and such that he might almost be called the common 
master and guide, his inventions for establishing the dignity and 
power of bishops, without any difficultj^ spread through the 
church universal, and were received with implicit faith. (') 

(1) Having some knowledge of the course of human aflfliirs, I am neither 
greatly surprised, nor indignant, when I see the progress of episcopal power and 
dignity in the ancient church, and contemplate the rights of the people first, and 
then those of the presbyters, gradually extinguished. This might very easily oc- 
cur: indeed, would almost necessarily occur. As men are naturally fond of ruling, 
It is usua. f:?r tnose of eievated positions in society to endeavor to enlarge tho 
boundaries of their authority and power • and commonly their efforts are suc- 
cessful, and are aided by their colleagues or by combinations. For where 



Prtrogatives of Bishops. I09 

power or authority is equally distributed aiiion^ niany, disagreements and try- 
ing contests of(en arise, which it is hardly possible to repress, without increas- 
in^ the authority and prerogative of the head man of the company. To thin 
cause many others m:iy be added ; such as zeal for certiiin objects, ambition, 
poverty, the desire of wealth, &:e,, which stimulate the governors of the society, 
even though naturally sluggish, slow in movement, and unaspiring, iiiid Ihua 
elevate them and place them on a higher level. And those who, in these ways, 
whether by accident, or by their own etforts, or by the folly of others, obtain 
elevation, are very apt to claim the standing they hold as justly due to them ; 
and to search for reasons and arguments to prove, that the authority they pos- 
sess did not come to them fortuitously but in a legitimate manner. And hence 
arise frequently obscure, futile, perple.\ing discussions, which yet are necessary 
for those that would defend what they have obtained. To apply these remarks 
to Christian affairs and the gradually increasing power of the bishops, is not 
necessary ; the wise will readily see, that the same thing occurred among Chris- 
tians, which is common in all human affairs; and that the primitive equality of 
all, and the joint administration of sacred things, gradually disappeared, and 
the rank of those entrusted with the chief management of the church's affairs, 
was of course amplified. Councils having been every where introduced in the 
preceding century, and a consociation of the churches in each province being 
pstablished, it was a natural consequence, that the bishops, who alone delibe- 
rated in these councils on all great questions, and framed their canons, should 
appear more exalted characters than formerly, and that the prerogatives, not 
only of the people, but also of the clergy, should suffer diminution. Yet a 
semblance, and, indeed, not merely a semblance, but a real part of the ancient 
liberty, and of the common participation in the government, remained : [p. 589.] 
nor was any of the bishops of this century so bereft of modesty, as to dare 
maintain, that he had a right to transact any great business, without consulting 
the clergy and the people. Strong testimonies to this point, have already been 
adduced from Cyprian. But this same Cyprian, who, when he has selfposses- 
eion and is apprehensive of some danger, acknowledges the church to be supe- 
rior to the bishop, and attributes much importance to the clergy and the peo- 
ple, at other times so exalts the authority and dignity of bishops, as to subvert 
and destroy all the prerogatives of the people and presbyters, and strenuously 
maintain that the whole government of the church belongs to the bishop alone. 
That is, this man of unquestionable excellence and worth, but too fond of pow- 
er, follows prudence and yields to circumstances, when he admits associates in 
the government of the church, but speaks out the sentiments of his heart when 
he extols bishops and makes them sovereigns of their churches. And in this 
direction he is so indulgent to his natural propensity, that no one before him, 
not even IgnaliuSy the great patron of episcopal dignity, has, in my opinion, 
spoken more magnificently of the sovereign power and authority of bishops, no 
one has exalted their authority more highly. 

In \\\(i first place, whenever occasion offers, he very carefully inculcates, that 
the bishops do not obtain their office by the suffrages of the clergy and people, 
but from the judgmeiit, testimony and good pleasure of God himself Ho 
VOL. II. 10 



130 Century ITI.—Secfton 24. 

Bays, (Epist. lii. p. 68, al. Ep. Iv. c. 7.) : Facius est autem Cornelius episcopus 
de Dei et Christi ejus jvdicio. This he repeats in numerous passages ; and it 
is customary language with him : Deus sacerdotes suosfacit. (See Epist xlv. 
p. 59., lii. p. 68, 69., Iv. p. 82., Ixv. p. 1 13., l.vi.x. p. 121.) I will cite but one no- 
ttiLle passage, which may stand for them all. It is in his 69Lh epistle, p. 121. al. 
Ep. Ixvi. c. 1., where he says to Florentius, one of his adversaiius : Aiiimadver- 
to, id post Dexim judiciem, qui sacerdotes facit velle, non dicam de me (quantus 
enim ego sum?) sed de Dei et Christi judicio,(i\\h\ch he received, according to 
Cyprians views, when he was constituted a h'lshop, judicai'e. The man whom 
he here reproves, had doubted whether Cyprian was the true and legitimate" 
bishop of Carthage. Cyprian replies, that this is sacrilege, and an attack upon 
God himself and his Son: for men do not make bishops, but God. He goes 
on to .say : Hoc est in Dcum non credere, hoc est rebellem adversus Christum 
et adversus evangelium ejus existere, ut tu cxistimes, sacerdotes Dei sine 
conscientia ejus in ecclesia ordinari. How explicit 1 how positive! Now in 
tliis declaration, which is always on his lips, Deus sacerdotes suosfacit, by the 
words sacerdotes, he means the bishops. There are indeed some passages of hia 
writings, in which he honors presbyters with the appellation, sacerdotes ; and 
hence some learned men, Blondell, Salmasius, and others, have hastily con- 
cluded that Cyprian regarded presbyters, as equal in official power and autho- 
rity with bishops. But whenever he asserts that God creates the priests, 
[p. 690.] he, beyond all controversy, uniformly means the bishops ; and some- 
times he employs the very word episcopus instead of sacerdos. Neither did 
this holy man suppose, Wi^i presbyters are made and created by God: this glory 
he ascribed only to the bishops. — How Cyprian understood this assertion, of 
which he is so fond, I do not know exactly : for lie never explains it, and 
always uses that vague method of stating and defending his opinions, to which he 
had been accustomed among the rhetoricians when he was hjmself a rhetorician, 
before he became a Christian ; and, therefore, he defines nothing. But I sup- 
pose him to mean, that whenever an assembly was collected to choose a new 
bishop, God so illuminated and influenced those who had the right of voting, 
that they could not create or nominate any other than the person to whom h« 
had decreed the office. If this was not his meaning, I know not what wa.s. 
That he could not intend that common and o-rdinary law of divine Providence, 
which wisely controls all human affairs, is most certain, and will soon bo 
shown. But his opinion, as thus explained, is attended by many difficulties. 
For men were often created bishops, who were wholly unworthy and unfit for 
the office ; and a wise man can never think that these persons were elected by 
an extraordinary divine impulse or influence. Moreover, as is well known, the 
votes of the electors were often divided, so that they could not agree upon any 
one man. But these difficulties the good Cyprian neither perceived nor heeded. 
Yet there is one thing ne must undoubtedly have believed, that to constitute a 
divine decision in the election of a bishop, the harmonious or unanimous con- 
sent of the whole church was not necessary, but only the suffrages of the ma- 
jor part of it. For he himself was not elected by the voice of the whole Car- 
thagenian church; five of the presbyters, and doubtless, a portion of the people, 



Prerogatives of Bishops. 131 

went with them, wislicd another man to be made bishop. His opinion, there- 
fore, doubtless, was, that whenever the mnjor part of a church pronounced a 
mar worthy of the episcopal office, God is to be supposed to have f-poki^n by 
the church, and to have mnde him his ^iviest. Of the arguments on wliich lie 
rests this opinion, I will mention only the one on which he places most reliance; 
and the force of the others, which he himself deenis less conclusive, may be es- 
timated from this. He assumes, that bishops are the successors of the apos- 
tles. Epistle xlii. (p. 57. al. Ep. xlv. c. 4.): Laborare debemus, ut unitatem a 
Domino et per Aposlolos nobis successeribus traditam obtinere curemus. This 
was the common opinion of that age. On this assumption, he thus reasons : 
But the Ajjostles were created and constituted by Christ himself; therefore 
also, tlie successors of the Apostles, the bishops, arc created by God himself 
and by Christ. I shall presently cite a fine passage relative to deacons, in which 
this argument is most distinctly exhibited. Bat in this connexion, higher 
chiims are raised by that argument, which he bases on the authority of Jesua 
Christ. For Cyprian solemnly affirms, that by divine revelation, and [p. 691.] 
from the mouth of Christ himself, he received the declaration Deus sacerdotes 
suos facit. Thus he writes, (Epist. Ixix. p. 122. al. Ep. Ixvi. c. 10.): Memini 
enirn, qiiidjam mihi sil ostensum, itytmo quid sii servo obsequenti et timenti de 
dominica el diiina aucioritale prcccepLum : qui inter caetera qua; ostendere et 
revelare dignatus est, et hoc addidit: Itaque, qui Chrislo nan credit sacerdotem 
facienti, et postea credere incipiet sacerdotem vindicanti. Now, if what Cy- 
prian would have us regard as true, were true, namely, that Christ himself had 
dictated to him these denunciations against those who will not believe (Chris- 
tum sacerdotes facere) thai bishops are appointed by Christ ; then it would be im- 
pious, to doubt the validity of this principle ! 

I will now subjoin the opinions of Cyprian respecting the origin of the 
functions o^ presbyters and deacons, as this will more fully and perfectly disclose 
to us his entire doctrine respecting the office and prerogatives of bishops. It 
is a pleasure to know the opinions of an age supposed to be distinguished 
above others for sanctity and the cultivation of true religion, and to see from 
what beginnings those dogmas originated, which are still held to be divine by 
many, and are brought forward to interrupt the peace of the Christian com- 
monwealth. Neither is this merely pleasant, but it is especially useful and ne- 
cessary, since learned men of all parties have begun strangely to pervert and 
involve in obscurity the opinions of the early ages. To whom the presbyters 
owe their office and rank, how extensive their pov/er, and how far they are infe- 
rior to bishops, Cyprian nowhere clearly states. And those who shall carefully 
peruse his writings that have reached us, will perceive that, when treating of 
firesbyters, he is very cautious not to offend persons of that order, which includ- 
ed quite a number who were unfriendly to him. Yet this may be inferred, 
from what he has said here and there in his cautious manner, that he placed 
presbyters far below the bishops, and would not have applied to them his 
favorite maxim or declaration, that God makes the priests. That is, he supposed 
that the church, and not God, created presbyters. lie has not, I admit, said this 
in so many words in any of his writings; but it is a necessary consequence 



132 Century III.— Section 24. 

from what he says respecting the judge to whom presbyters are rccountable. 
A bishop lias no human judge, and is accountable to God only; because it is 
God that makes the bishops; but the church, collectively, not merely tho 
bishop, is the judge of presbyters, — and, doubtless, because the presbyters re- 
ceive their ofMce from the church. But let us hear him, (Epist. xi. p. 19; al. 
Ep. xvi. c. 4) : Interim temerarii inter vos (he is addressing his presbyters,) 
Deuni limeant, scientes, quoniim si ultra in iisdem persevcraverint, utar ea ad- 
monitione, qua me uti Dominus jubet, ut interim proliibe:intur ofterre, acturi et 
apud nos et apud eonfessores ipsos et apud plebem iinhersam caussara suam 
cum, Domino permittente, in sinum matris ecclcsioe recoUigi coeperimus. Cy- 
prian here claims for himself" some power over the offending presbyters ; for 
he threatens them, if they continue to offend, that he svill prohibere offerre ; that 
[p. 592.] is, prohibit them from administering the Lord's supper. But he very 
cautiously adds, that he assumes this authority by a divine command : qua me 
uti Do minus jubel; thereby acknowledging, th;it ordinarily a bisliop could not 
restrain a presbyter from performing his functions; but he signiiies, that this 
power was given to him by God in a vision, such as he declares and aflirms 
had been often made to him, as his writings show. But from the trial of their 
offence and their judicial sentence, he wholly separates himself; and decides, 
that the matter must go before an assembly of the whole church. Because, it 
would seem, that to the church which made them presbyters, it belonged to 
judge of the magnitude of their offence. Neither had God, although declaring 
many things and committing many things to him in visions, or believed to do 
so, signified his pleasure to have this prerogative of the church abolished. — 
Concerning Deacons, he speaks more distinctly. For he very clearly states, 
that they are constituted neither by God nor by the church, but by the bishop. 
And he thence infers, that if they violate their duty, tiie bishop alone can pu- 
nish them, without consulting the church. One Rogatianus, a bishop, had 
been very ill treated by his deacon; but remembering the ancient prerogativet 
of the church, he would not himself avenge the injury he had received, bul 
stated his grievance to Cyprian and to the church of Carthage, undoubtedly 
asking their counsel. Cyprian replied, (Epist. Ixv. p. 114; al. Ep. iii. c. 1) : 
Tu quidem honorifiee fecisti, ut malles de eo nobis conqueri, cum pro episcopa- 
ius vigore et cathedrae aucloritate haberes potestaiem, qua posses de illo slatim 
vindicari, certus quod collegoe tui omnes gratum haberemus quodcunque circa 
diaconum tuum contumeliosum sacerdotal! potcstate fecisscs. This decision is 
followed by a long and most invidious descant on the reverence and honor due 
to bishops, and the punishments which those merit who treat bishops with in- 
dignity ; which, I could wish, had been written by some other person than Cy- 
p-ian the martyr ; for, in truth, it is quite futile, and unworthy of so great a man. 
He first shows, from the law of Moses, (Deut. xvii. 12, 13,) that God decreed 
capital punishment against the despisers of the Jewish priests, who, he thinks, 
did not differ from the Christian priests ; and then he mentions Corah, Dathan, 
and Abiram, with their friends and associates, who suffered terrible punishment 
at the hands of divine justice for their impiety. His own words are : Ut proba- 
reiuVi sacerdoies Dei ab eo, qui sacerdoies facii (in speaking of bishops he could 



Prerogatives of Bishops. 133 

not omit liis favorite maxim: Dens sacerdotes facU.) vindicari. Other argu- 
ments of similar strenglli then ibllow, iVom the Old Testament. Lastly, ho 
gravely asserts, that Jesus Christ liimself has taught us by his example, that 
bishops are to be treated with the highest respect; for Ciirist said to the leper 
(Mntth. viii. 4,) " Go and show thyself to the 'priest ;" and when, at his trial, he 
was smitten on the cheek, (John, xviii. 22, 23,) he uttered nothing reproachful 
against the Jewish high priest, (ibid. e. 2) : Qnas omnia ab eo idco facta sunt 
humiliter atque patientcr, ut nos humilitatis ac patieiitia? haberemus [p. 593.] 
exemplum. Ducuit cnini sacerdotes veros legitime et ylene honoraria dum circa 
falsos sacerdotes ipse talis exstitit. But all these arguments, if indeed they 
prove anything, only prove that great respect is due to bishops, and that those 
who despise or revile them should be punished very severely ; and not that a 
bishop is the proper judge of tiie deacons, and may punish them if they resist him. 
And therefi)re he now proceeds to establish this prerogative as belonging to 
bishops. His reasoning is this, (ibid. c. 3.) Because the bishop makes a deacon^ 
he says: Meminisse autem Diaconi debent, quouiam Apostolos, id est, episco- 
pos et prapositos Doininus elegit diaconos autem post ascensum Domini in, 
coelos Apostoli sibiconstitusrant episcopatus sui et ecclesige ministros. Quod si 
nos aliquid audere contra Deum possumus, qui episcopos facit, possunt et con- 
tra nos audere diaconi, a quibus fiunt. Much is wrapt up in these few words : 
For, firsts he shows why we must believe his darling principle, that God makes 
the bishops. Christ made the Apostles; but the bishops have succeeded to the 
place of the Apostles; therefore, not men, but God and Christ make the 
bishops. Secondly, he shows that to l»ishops belongs the power of making dea- 
cons, by this argument: The Apostles appointed the first deacons; but the 
bishops have the same prerogatives as the Apostles, for they are their succes- 
sors; therefore deacons derive their office from the bishops, or, the bishops 
make the deacons. This reasoning may surprise those who recollect that ac- 
cording to the Acts of the Apostles, it was the church, or people, acting accord- 
ing to a suggestion of the Apostles, and not the Apostles themselves, that first 
of all constituted deacons. But either this fact did not occur to Cyprian while 
writing with excited feelings, or he deemed it expedient not to notice it. Ac- 
cording to Cyprian, then, inasmuch as the bishops make deacons, it must be 
clear also, that they have the right to coerce and punish offending deacons ; as 
he attempted to show to his fellow bishop Rogatianus. Lastly, arguing still 
from his assumptions, which he takes for facts, he shows that deacons must ne- 
ver oppose a bishop. For, bishops must never oppose God, by whom they 
were constituted; and therefore deacons must never oppose the bishoi)s, by 
whom they were constituted. Admirable reasoning, truly! But we should re- 
collect that Cyprian was a rhetorician. — Having settled all these points, as ho 
supposed, by sound reasoning, undoubtedly, (for I am unwilling to believe 
that he acted in sincerity,) he gives the following as his deliberate opinion, 
(ibid. c. 3) : Ideo oportet diaconum prseposito suo plena humilitate satisfacere. 
- - Quod si ultra te provocavcrit, fungeris circa cum potcstate honoris tni, ut 
eum vel doponas vel abstineas. And still more liberal, he assigns to Rogatia- 
nus authority also over the associates and friends of the deacon : Et quoniam 



134 Century III. — Section 24. 

scripsisti, quendam cum eodem diacono tuo se miscuisse-et .^;uperbia2 ejus atque 
audacia3 paiticipcm esse, liunc quoquc et si qui aiii tales extiterint et contra fcu- 
[p. 594.] cerdotem Dei (so he commonly desi<^nates a bishop,) feceriut, vel 
coercere potes vel abstiiiere. But, may the manes of St. Cyprian forgive me ! 
In this, as in other things, he abandoned and changed the ancient law of the 
church, through his excessive anxiety to extend the prerogatives of bishops. 
By the ancient law, the bishop could neitlier make deacons nor deprive ihem of 
tiieir othce, at his pleasure; but to the whole multitude, or the church, per- 
tained both. And this, strange to tell, he himself confesses and maintains on 
another occasion and in another place. For, being of a fervid temperament, 
he at times forgets in the ardor of debate, what he had elseu here inculcated. 
In his 68th Epistle, (p. 118; al. Ep. Ixvii, c. 4,) after maintaining the rights of 
the people in the creation of bishops, and asserting that the ordinalion of a bishop 
is legilimale and right only ^ quae omnium suffragio eijudiciofuerii examinata, he 
immediately adds, that he would have the same rule applied to deacons ; and he 
denies that the Apostles alone constituted the deacons : Nee hoc in episcoporum 
tantum et sacerdotum, sed el in diaconorum ordinaLumibus observasse Aposto- 
los animadvertimus, de quo et ipso in Aclis eorum scriptuin est: Et convoca- 
runt, inquit, illi duodecim totam plebem discipulorum. — Quod utique idcirco 
tam diligenter et caute convocata plebe tota gerebatur, ne quis ad altaris minis- 
terium vel ad sacerdotalem locum indlgnus obreperet. Now, therefore, it will 
be manifest, how Cyprian makes bishops, presbyters, and deacons to differ from 
each other. God makes the priests or bishops ; the church makes the presby- 
ters; and the bi-hop makes the deacons. And theicfore, God only is the judge 
of the bishops; the church the judge of presbyters; and the bishop the judge 
of deacons. 

On this, his darling maxim, that God makes the priests or bishops, which he 
deduces from the parity of bishops witii the Apostles, Cyprian erects a large su- 
perstructure of prerogatives and honors, which, in his judgment, bishops ought 
to enjoy. For his first inference from it is, that all the pi'crogatives which be- 
longed to the Apostles whom Clirist himself created, belong also to the bishops 
their successors. Secondly, he infers from it, that no one should judge of the 
actions of bishops but God only, by whom they were made. And hence he is 
often very angry with those who call in question the things done by bishops. 
He writes to Florentius, (Epist. Ixix. p. 121 ; al. Ep. Ixvi. c. 1) : Animadverto 
te - - in mores nostros diligenter inquirere, et post Deum judicem, qui sa- 
cerdotes facit, te velle - - de Dei et Christi judicio judlcare. Hoc est in 
Deum non credere. - - Nam credere quod indigni sint qui ordinantur, quid aliud 
est, quam credere, quod non a Deo nee per Deum sacerdotes ejus in cctlesia 
constituantur ? And, after much of the same import, he adds, (c. 4, 5) : Dolena 
ha3C profero, cum te judicem Dei constituas et Christi, qui dicit ad Aj)(>stolos ac 
per hoe ad omnes pra3positos, qui Apostolis vicaria ordinatione succedunt; qui 
audit vos, me audit: et qui me audit, eum audit, qui me misit. Inde enim 
[p. 595.] schismata et haereses oborlas sunt et oriuntur, duni episcopus, qui 
unus est et eeclesiae prajest, superba quorundam praesumtione contemnitur, 
et homo dignalione Dei honoratus indignus hominibus judicatur. Quis enim 



Prerogatives of Bishops. I35 

hic est superbire tunjor, qua; nrroofantia .'uiimi, qiire mentis inflatio, ad coirnUio- 
nem siiam priepositos et saocnlotes vocaro ? What force tliero is in all this, 
ami whithoi- it tentls, is sufficiently manifest! But he goes even farther than 
tiiis, and maintains, that the whole church is comprised in the bisliop: whence 
it follows, that no person is a member of the church unless he is obedient to 
the bishop, or in subjection to him. But the church is a unity ; and in the es- 
tablishment of this doctrine Cyprinn spent much labor and pains ; and his trea- 
tise de unilate ecclesicc is still extant. Of course all bishops also, as they properly 
constitute the church, must form a unity of some sort, and be held together by 
an indissoluble bond. And if this be so, then we must believe, that a person 
who separates himself from one bishop, separates himself from all, and at the 
same time from tiie whole ehuix;h ; and he excludes himself from heaven, 
as well as from the church. This Cyprian maintains in his 69th Epistle, 
(p. 123; al. Ep. Ixvi. c. 8.) He first gives his definition of the church: Ec- 
clesia est plebs sacerdoti adunata el pasiori suo grex adhccrens. Assuming this, his 
JirU inference is: Unde scire debes episcopum in ecclesia esse, et ecclesiayn in epis- 
copo, el si qids cum episcopo non sil, in ecclesia nan esse. Very true, provided 
the definition is faultless ! And there are other instances, from which we may 
learn that Cyprian well understood the great power there is in definitions, and 
that any thing may be proved, if a neat and suitable definition can be devised. 
But he supposes some one m:iy come forward with this objection : I dissent in- 
deed from you, and from some other bishops ; but I fully accord with another, 
or several other bishops: if then the man is in the church who adheres to his 
own bishop, I am in the church, for I adhere to the pastor whom I have chosen. 
By no means, says Cyprian : Whoever dissents from me, dissents from all : he 
who forsakes the bishop under whom he lives, forsakes them all, (Ibid. e. 8) : 
Et frustra sibi blandiri eos, qui pacem cum sacerdolibus Dei (that is, with the 
bishops in whose congregations they live,) non habentes, obrepuni, et latenler 
apud quosdam (other bishops,) communicare se credunt, quando ecclesia, qua: 
calholica et una est (add : et in episcopis posi/a,) scissa non sil neque diiisa, sed 
sit utique cnnnexa et cohccrenlium sibi invicem sacerdoium glul.ino copulata. Sub- 
servient to the support and confirmation of this doctrine, is that whole topic, so 
often and so carefully discussed by Cyprian, respecting the vnily of the church; 
a topic broached by others long before him, and in Africn, by Tertullian in par- 
ticular, but never investigated, elucidated, and made as intelligible as its impor- 
tance required. In explaining and illustrating this topic, the holy man is so 
little consistent with himself, so unsettled and indeterminate in his views, that 
we readily perceive he indistinctly grasped his subject, and his greatest [p. .5*J6.] 
admirers will not deny that he made some mistakes. — But magniticent as these 
views were, and extravagantly as they honored episcopacy, yet they did not 
satisfy Cyprian : to make the dignity of Bisho])s completely inviolable, he deemed 
it nessessary to add, that they represent Christ himself, and that they not only 
guide and rule us as his vicegerents, but also sit in judgment upon us. And 
this, he thinks, is easily inferred from the divine origin of bishops. Now ii" the 
bishops represent the person of Christ among men, if they act and decide in his 
Btcad, then it is manifest, that to resist and oppose them, or to refuse to obey 



130 Century III. —Section 24. 

their mandates, would be to offend the divine miijesty and despise Christ him- 
self. And the excellent Cyprian would have us believe it is really so. Thia 
sentiment he nowhere maintains with more vehemence ard eloquence than in 
his 55th Epistle, ad Cornelium, (p. 81, 82, &e. al. Ep. lix. c. 2. 7;) an Epistle, 
which, I confess, I never read without some pleasure and admiration. The 
Carthagenian bishop writes to the bishop of Rome, who ought to know, the 
best of all men, what were the powers and what the prerogatives and honors 
belonging to Christian bishops, he being himself, as Cyprian admitted, the 
(frinceps) chief of nU the bishops. And yet the Carthagenian prelate instructs the 
Roman, just as a master would one of his least pupils, very minutely, rc.'^pccting 
the powers and the dignity of bishops; and, pretty clearly taxes him with igno- 
rance on this most important subject. For Cornelius, the good bishop of Rome, 
was more modest than Cyprian wished him to be, and seemed not fully to un- 
derstand the immense amplitude and elevation of his prelacy : he conceded 
much to his clergy: and miicii to the people: and moreover sullered himself to 
be terrified by the threats of Cyprian's adversaries wlio had gone to Rome. 
And therefore Cyprian thus addresses him, near tlie commencement of the 
Epistle, (c. 2.): Quod si ita res est, frater carissime, ut nequissimorum timeatur 
audacia, - - actum est de episcopatus vigore, et de ecclesise gubernandse sublimi 
€ic divina potestaie^ nee Christiani ultra aut durare, aut esse jam possumus. This 
rebuke he protracts to a considerable length, and then adds a long oration, in 
which he informs Cornelius, by citing many passages of holy Scripture, (which 
no competent judge will deem to be in point,) that a bishop is a great man, and 
has no superior among mortals, except Jesus Christ. This instrnction took 
eifect on Cornelius^ and on all his successors; among whom it is well known, 
not one has been so ignorant of his own authority and importance as to need 
80 stern a monitor and instructor. Let us see how Cyprian closes that oration, 
(Ibid. c. 7.): cum haec tanta et talia et multa alia exempla pra3cedant, quibus 
eacerdotalis auctoritas et potestas de divina dignatione firmatur, quales putas 
cos, qui sacerdotum hostes, et contra ecclesiam eatliolicam rebelles nt-c pnemo- 
[p. 597.] nentis Domini communicatione, nee futuri judicii ultione terrentur ? Ne- 
que enim aliunde hroreses abortoe sunt, aut nata sunt schismata, quam inde, quod 
sacerdoti Dei non obtemperatur, nee unus in ecclesia ad lempus sacerdoSyCl ad 
tempus judex vice Chrisli cogilaLur ; cui si secundum magisieria divina obleynpe' 
raret fralerniLas unixersa, nemo adcersum sacerdotum colle-^ium moveret. 'J'ho 
rest I omit. Here then we have the author of that proud title, Vicar of Jesus 
Christ, which the Roman Pontiffs at this day claim as exclusively theirs. The 
author of it was not born at Rome : but an African bishop first taught the Ro- 
man prelate, that all bishops ought to assume it. And it was commonly adopted, 
from tins time onwnrd, by all bishops; as h:is been proved by Joseph Bingham 
in his Origines Ecclesiasticce, (vol. i. p. 81, 82. Lib. ii. c. ii. ^ 10.) I will add, 
that down to the ni7ilh century, it was customary to speak of all bishops as the 
Vicars of Christ: for Servatus Lupus, a writer of that century, (or rather, all 
the bishops in the part of Gaul denominated Senonia, in whose name Servatus 
wrote,) honored Aeneas, the bishop of Paris, with this title. (Epist. xcix. p. 
149. ed. Baluze.) : Consolatloncm recipimus, dum vos sub pastore bono (Christo) 



Morals of the Clenjy. 137 

ngentes, qui summc bonus est. vicarium ejus (boiu pastoris) scilicet xisibilem. 
niinistesiique noslri consortem, absque dilatione expetere - - cognovimus. But 
after this period, the Roman Pontiffs were accustomed to appropriate Uiis, a8 
well as the other honorary titles of the ancient bishops, exclusively to them- 
selves. In short, whatever prerogatives the greatest of the Roman Ponlils at 
this day arrogate to themselves, with perhaps the single exception of infallibility, 
were all asi-ribed by Cyprian to the bishops universally; which fact shows, how 
greatly his views differed from the modern, respecting the nature and govern- 
ment of the church. And as he thought, so he acted. For whoever candidly 
surveys and considers those contests which distracted his life, will perceive, that 
most of them originated from his zeal for innovations on the ancient rights of 
the Carthagenian church, and amplifying tlie powers and the dignity of the 
bishop. Most of the business he managed according to his own pleasure and 
volition, regardless of the consent or opinions of either presbyters, or deacons, 
or the people. And hence frequently the presbyters, the deacons, or a portion 
of the people, resisted his wishes, and complained that they were injured. But 
he rose above them all, being a vigorous and fearless man ; and his doctrines 
respecting the unity of the church and the authority of bishops, were propagated 
by means of his Epistles, over the whole church. It is amazing to see, what 
influence he acquired throughout the Christian world, after his magnanimoua 
martyrdom for Christ, so that he was accounted almost the common teacher 
and oracle of all. Those who would look into this subject, may read the 18th 
Oration of Gregory Nazianzen, in commemoration of him. [p. 598.] 

§ XXV. The Morals of the Clergy. Many complaints occnr hero 
and there in the writers of this century, of the corrupt morals 
of the clergy ; and these complaints cannot be supposed to bd 
vain and groundless : and yet splendid examples of primitive 
integrity and sanctity are frequently to be seen, both among the 
bishops and among the presbyters and deacons ; examples well 
adapted to impress the human mind, and to exhibit the power 
of religion. Bad men were therefore commingled with the good ; 
and those deserve not our confidence, who, as many in ftxct do, 
would measure the happiness of this age by the examples of 
either of these descriptions.(') I will therefore only observe, that 
the growing errors among Christians, respecting the nature of 
true piety, had such influence on not a few of the ministers of 
religion, that by striving to obtain a reputation for sanctity, they 
brought upon themselves disgrace and a suspicion of criminal 
conduct. A striking example of this is afforded by those in 
Africa, and perhaps also in other provinces of the East, avIio 
received into their houses females who had vowed perpetual 
cliastity, and even made them partakers of their bed, at the same 



138 Century III.— Section 25. 

time most solemnly protesting that nothing occurred incompati- 
ble with modesty. For, extravagant ideas of the sanctity of 
celibac}'' having grown np, and consequently those among the 
priests being regarded as most venerable, and the most acceptable 
before God, who had no wives, many wished so to consult their 
reputation, as still to retain a measure of social comforts and en- 
joyments. The bishops, by their exhortations and precepts, re- 
sisted this custom, which was very offensive to the people: but, 
so very powerful is every thing which favors our natural instincts, 
that this practice could not be wholly exterminated, either in this 
century or the next.C*) 

(1) Complaints respecting the vices of the clergy in this century, arc made 
by nearly all the Greek and Latin fathers, who attempt to assign the causes of 
the calamities, with which the Christians of this century often had to eontlict. 
See Origen's Commentatory on Matthew, (P. I. 0pp. edit. Hnet. p. 420, 441, 
442.) Cyprian, m many of his Epistles, Eusehius, (Hist. Eccles. L. viii. c. 1.) 
and others. Those of the present day, who read tiiese complaints, which often 
resemble the declamations of rhetoricians, are apt to conclude that almost nothing 
of the primitive piety of the church remained in this age. But it is not ditHeuIt 
to collect from the same writers, many testimonies to the innocence and the 
pure morals of the pastors and ministers of the churches: and therefore otliers 
are induced by these high commendations, to assert, that, with perhaps a few 
[p. 599.J exceptions, all the clergy were free from every vice. And from such 
wide sweeping general commendations, and accusations, dictated for the most 
part, and colored by impassioned feelings, in my opinion, little or nothing can 
be inferred with certainty. And the judgment which Origen passed, appears 
to me more probable: (Contra Celsum, L. iii. p. 129, cd. Spencer.) He admits 
that there were some among the Christian bishops and teachers, who did 
not do their duty as they ought; but, he adds, it is nevertheless certain that 
if the Christian prefects and senators, are compared with the pagan senators, 
magistrates and judges, the latter will fall far behind the former, in probity, 
virtue, and integrity. Such, I apprehend, was in general the fact. In many of 
the (christian bishops and teachers, there were various things reprehensible and 
defective, if we judge them by the strict rules of the divine law; and yet they 
ap])eared to be all excellent men, and patterns of virtue, if compared with those 
magistrates of cities and countries, who were opposed to Christianily ; among 
whom examples of goodness and justice were very rare. And the same will 
hold true of the Christian common people. 

(2) This scandalous practice of some Christian priests, in admitting females 
to be inmates of their dwellings, is professedly treated of by Henry Dodwellj 
in his DisscTtaliones Cijprianicx, (Diss, iii.) and by Ludov. Anton. Muraiori, in 
his Disquisilio de Synisactis el Agapetis, (thus these females were designated.) 
The Disquis. is to be found in his Anecdota Grccca, (p. 218.) The former lets 



Morals of the Clergy. 139 

his prejudices carry liirn too far; and the latter is quite too favorable to the 
views of the Romish church respecting the sanctity of celibacy. This shameful 
custom, doubtless, existed before the third century; and we meet some slight 
traces of it in Ifermas, in Tertullian, and perhaps in otiiers. But a clear and 
distinct mention of it, is made by no one before Cyprian, who severely inveighs 
ag:iinst it in several of his epistles. But this and other questions relating to 
this subject, I pass over, as not pertinent to my present object; and I will con- 
fine myself to one f ict, which learned men have cither entirely omitted, or have 
treated only with much obscurity. All the priests did not assume this liberty 
of taking women into their houses and to their beds, but only those who had 
voluntarily renounced the right to marry, which all priests possessed in this 
century, or had made a solemn vow of per[ietual chastity, for the sake of at- 
t4iining to higher sanctity. For this custom of binding themselves by such 
vows was very common in those times. Neither were all females taken in such 
cohabitation, but only virgins: nor indeed all virgins, but those only, who had 
professed never to marry, but to preserve their bodies entirely consecrated to 
God, Tliose who mark these circumstances, will perceive the true nature 
and character of this most vile and perilous practice. These cohabitations, in 
fiict, were a sort of sacred or divine marriages between persons bound, on both 
sides, by vows of perpetual ciiastity ; marriages, I say, not of their bodies, but 
of their souls. For those early theologians, whose views most of the [p. 600.] 
moderns imperfectly understand, supposed that there was both an external mar- 
riage of bodies and also an internal marriage of souls; and that, as bodies are 
often united, while the souls are very discordant, so also, they supposed, souls 
might be united in marriage or become associated, without any consociation or 
marriage of the bodies. It is well known, that many mnrried Christians in 
those days, by mutual consent, made vows of continence, and yet wished to be 
regarded as remaining married persons, and they were so regarded. S.iya 
Terlullian (ad Uxorera L. i. c. 6. p. 185.) : Quot sunt, qui consensu pari inter 
Be matrimonii debitum tollunt? voluntarii spadones pro cupiditate regni coslestis. 
Quod si saho matrimonio abstinentia toleratur, qunnto magis adempto? In 
these married persons, the external marriage or that of their bodies was an- 
nulled, but the interior and more holy- marriage of their souls, not only con- 
tinued, but was even strengthened. Now the radical principle of the cohabita- 
tions which we are considering, was the same with that just described; and the 
forrner differed from the latter merely in this, that the one had voluntarily taken 
vows of ahslinence from a marriage of bodies, and the other had voluntarily 
taken vows for the dissolution of such marriage. 

These observations, will, I think, enable us to understand why the nninarried 
cohabitants supposed their mode of lilc not liable to the reproaches cast upon 
it, and tlierefure cornjjlained of the injustice of the suspicions heaped upon them. 
Those married Christians, who voluntarily subjected themselves to the law of 
continence, could still live together, and sleep together, and no one took offence 
at it, or suspected them of secretly violating the rule of chastity whirh they 
imposed on themselves. On the contrary, most people considered the force <>f 
religious vows to be so great, that their voluntary vow was sufliciciit to keep 



140 Century IIL—Sectlon 2G. 

them from any improper intercourse. And therefore, as our unmarried coliabi- 
tants were living together on the same principle, they supposed the same things 
to be hiwfnl for them ; and as both equ.illy made solemn vows of chastity, so 
all, they supposed ought to conclude, that the force oUheir vow would make 
it impossible for them to violate the law of chastity. This at least we regard 
as certnin, that many of the tenets and practices of the early Christians, which 
displease us, would appear more tolerable, and would assume a more becoming 
aspect, if they were tried by the opinions and customs of those times. 

§ XXYI. Christian Writers of this Century. Amoilg tllOSC ^vllO 

superintended and managed tlic affairs of the cliurcli, there were 
doubtless more learned and well-informed men than in the pre- 
vious centuries. For many from the different sects of philoso- 
phers, especially from the Platonists, and also from among the rhe- 
toricians, embraced Christianity ; and they were honored for their 
[p. 601.] erudition and talents by being made bishops and presby- 
ters. The Christians likewise perceived, that their cause needed 
the support of learning and human science, and therefore took 
pains to have the youth of the church instructed in sound learn- 
ing and philosophy. And yet it is well attested, and not to be 
denied, that many illiterate and ignorant men presided over the 
churches, in numerous places, and that human learning was not 
yet considered as an indispensable qualification of a good bishop 
and teacher. For, not to mention the paucity of schools in which 
candidates for the sacred office might be educated, and the conse- 
quent scarcity of the learned men, the opinion was too deepl}^ fix- 
ed in many minds to be at all eradicated, that learning and phi- 
losophy were prejudicial rather than advantageous to piety, and 
should therefore be excluded from the church. (') And hence, 
only a few Christians in this age obtained permanent notoriety, 
by their Avritings. Among those who wrote in Greek, the most 
eminent was Origen^ who presided in the school of Alexandria, 
a man of indefatigable industry, and equalled by few in learning 
and genius, but of whose Avorks the greatest and best part arc 
lost, and a part are preserved only in Latin. Inferior to him in 
fame and reputation, but not, I think, in solid worth and genius, 
were Julius Africanus, Dionysius of Alexandria, and Hippolytus^ 
most of whose writings have unfortunately not been preserved. 
Eminent among the discii)les of Origen, was Gregory^ bishop of 
Neocoesaria, more famous for the numerous miracles said to have 
been wrought by him, and from wliich he obtained the surname 



Christian Writers. 141 

of Thainnnturgv.s, than for liis writings.(')— Among the Latins, 
only three deserve our notiec : Cyprian^ first a rhetorician, and 
then bishop of Carthage, a man, like most Africans, ])ossessing 
eloquence, but at the same time tumid, and more splendid in 
his Avords and phrases than in his conceptions ; Minucius Fdix, 
from whoso pen we have a neat and elegant dialogue, entitled 
Odavias, in which he skilful!}^ recounts and nervously confutes 
the calumnies then charged upon Christians ; und Aimohius^ an 
African rhetorician, Avho strenuously defended the cause of Chris- 
tianity against its opposers, and often with ingenuity, in hia 
Libri septem contra Gentes: but he shows himself to be not well 
acquainted with the religion which he dcfends.('') 

(1) III the Apostolic Constitutions, falsely .iscribed to Clemens [p. 602.] 
Ronnniis, there is a chnpter, (Lib. i. c. C, in the Patres Apostol. torn. 1. p. 
204.) in whieh the reading of books on hnman learning is prohibited: and Co- 
teller, m a note on the chapter, has collected ni;iny passages of a simil.-ir nature 
from the early Christian writers. And it is well known, how much Origen 
was disliked by many, on account of his attachment to science and philoso- 
phy : and, while vindicating himself in an Epistle toEusebius, he can mention 
only here and there an individual, who pursued a similar course. 

(2) Those wishing to become acquainted with the Christian Greek writers 
of this and of every age, will find all they can desire, in the Bihiiotheca Grctca 
of Jo. Alb. Fabricius. The works of Origen explanatory of Scripture, wero 
first published entire and correctly, and with valuable notes, by Peter Daniel 
Huet: to which he added a very learned work entitled Origeniana, containing 
elaborate discussions respecting the history and opinions of Origen ; Rouen, 
1668, fob, and reprinted in Germany. Afterwards Bern, de Monlfaucon, a 
very learned Benedictine, published what remains of Origen's Hexapla, in two 
vols, fob, Paris, 1714. Lastly, Charles de la Rve, also a Benedictine monk, 
nnd distinguished for talents and learning, undertook to publish all the works 
of Origen which have escaped the ravages of time, from numerous manuscripts 
collected with great care and labor, accompanied with notes, a life of the au- 
thor, and many dissertations. He divided the work into Jive volumes, the last 
of which was to contain Huet's Originiana, with notes, emendations, and addi- 
tions, and also dissertations respecting Origen. The two first volumes were 
published at Paris, 1733, fob The third appeared at Paris in 1740, after the 
editors death, which occurred in 1739. There remains therefore the two last 
volumes, the first of which the learned author is said to have left nearly com- 
plete. — Of the writings of Julius Africanus and Dionysiiis Alexandrianus, only 
a few fragments are extant. — The reputation of Ilippnhjtus is great ; but his 
history is involved in obscurity, because several persons of this name became 
famous among Christians. The most elaborate account of the man is given by 
the Benedictine monks in the work they have commenced publishing, entitled 



142 Ceyxtury III— Section 26. 

Histoire Litternirc dc la Fnnco, tome i. p. 361. The meagre fragments that 
remain of tliis great man, though many of them are of doubtful genuineness, 
have been collected in two thin volumes, by Jo. Alb. Fabricius, designed, I 
suppose, as a collection for others to improve. — The few remains of Gregory of 
Neocnesarea, including his Panegyric on Origcn, his preceptor, which is the best 
of his works, and a Greek biography of Gregory, were published by Gerh. Voss^ 
Mayence, 1G04, 4to. The industry ofVoss deserves commendation ; but Gregory 
needs a more judicious and learned editor, who would inquire more sagnciously 
and freely, than anyone has hitherto done, into the nature and certainty of 
[p. 603.] those miracles, by which Gregory is said to have excelled all the 
learned doctors of the church in all ages. Great suspicions of them have been 
awakened, among others by Anthony Van Dale, in the preface to his work de 
Oracnlis. These suspicions should be annihilated, if they can be ; and if they 
can not, I wish to see them better elucidated and confirmed, so that the true 
may be distinguished from the false. For it is of vast importance to Christian- 
ity that hoary fables should be exploded, and no longer give nutriment to super- 
stition : and it is equally important, that the attestations of divine power and 
interposition, actually exhibited in the early ages, should be placed beyond all 
doubt, so that they may sustain the majesty and dignity of our religion. Some 
of the miracles of Gregory bear manifest marks of spuriousness; and yet, per- 
haps, there vvas something true at the bottom of them, which the popular cre- 
dulity, as usual, wrought upon, or rather perverted. 

(3) Of the writings of Cyprian there are extant, first. Epistles, which shed 
much light on the ecclesiastical usnges and the history of those times ; and, 
secondly, various Tracts, in which he treats of practical duties, sometimes de- 
voutly and eloquently, and sometimes with little solidity and correctness. All 
his works were published, near the close of the last century, in England, by 
John Fell, bishop of Chester, (Oxford, 1682, fob), and with great dexterity and 
care ; so that this edition vvas deemed worth reprinting in Holland and Ger- 
many. Afterwards Stephen Baluze, to whom other branches of divine and hu- 
man learning are much indebted, spent many of the last years of his long life 
in laboriously correcting and elucidating the works of Cyprian; and having left 
his undertaking but partly accomplished, his associates, the Benedictine monks 
of St. Maur, added some dissertations, and published the whole, Paris, 1726, fol. 
But this edition lacks, not only the dissertaiiones Cyprianiccc of Henry Dod- 
well, which are very erudite, though abounding in doubtful opinions and con- 
jectures, but also the Annales Cijprianici of John Pearson ; so that it does not 
supercede the use of Fell's edition. After these labors of correction, we have 
the text of Cyprian sufTiciently correct ; and transcribers have committed fewer 
blunders with this author than with others; but it may be justly questioned, 
whether Cyprian has been adequately elucidated and explained. For he pre- 
sents us with many passages, which no one can fully understand and compre- 
hend, unless he is well acquainted with that antiquated theology which differed 
so much from the theology of any modern sect; yet we find the expounders of 
Cyprian ascribing modern views to him, because his words are still used by us 
to express our sentiments. — Very different is the fact with Minucius Felix, whose 



Philosophising Theologians. — Origen, 143 

ideas arc sufficiently cloar and intelligible, but his lan^niago is sucli as to create 
doubts whether we have hia text correct. And hence, although eminent [p. 604.] 
men have labored intensely on the correction of his text, among whom the 
most noted were John Z>ai2S, nn Englishman, and James Gronovivs, who lived 
within our recollection ; yet much still remains to tax the ingenuity of critics 
ond grammarians. — Of Arnobius, (who is eloquent, but often very obscure, 
from the use of uncommon terms, and the vicious accumulation of figures ai-.d 
verbal ornaments,) the best editor is Desiderius Heraldus : yet he is not ap- 
preciated by the authors of the observations and emendations in the latest edi- 
tion of Arnobius, Lcyden, 1651, 4to. The friends of ancient literature will 
owe .1 debt of gratitude to the man who shall resolve to apply the aids of inge- 
nuity and a knowledge of ancient authors to the elucidation of Arnobius, the 
explanation of his numerous difficult passages, and the correction of his many 
faults. 

§ XXYII. Philosophisins: Theologians. Origen. The philoso- 
phising teachers of Christianity frequently resorted to what they 
regarded as the dictates of reason, in order to explain and eluci- 
date those religious doctrines which appeared to lack precision 
and clearness, so that the harmony of human and divine wisdom 
might be manifest. The result was, that the ancient simplicity, 
which received without comment whatever was divinely inculcat- 
ed, became less esteemed, the subtilties of human device became 
mixed up with the divine instructions, and contentions and dis- 
agreements arose respecting the nature of certain mysteries. In 
the western regions, indeed, this practice of commingling human 
and divine views made slower progress ; and the Latin theolo- 
gians of this century were still sufficiently cautious in their ex- 
plications of the scriptural doctrines, except perhaps Arnobius, 
who began to write when but slightly acquainted with the prin- 
ciples of religion, and treated them rhetorically rather than phi- 
losophically. But among the theologians of Asia and Africa, 
we more frequently meet with such as ventured to explore the 
internal nature and the recondite grounds of scriptural doctrines, 
either for the gratification of curiosity, or for the purpose of confut- 
ing heretics and the opposers of Christianity. Among these the 
Alexandrian doctors of Egypt were preeminent, they having, in 
the preceding century, conceded to philosophy some authority 
in matters of religion. At the head of these doctors stood Ori- 
gcn^ the master of the school at Alexandria, a man distinguished 
for genius, learning, virtue and usefulness. In his [p. 605.] 
Libi-i de jprmcipm, still extant in a Latin translation, and in hia 



144 Century III.— Section 27. 

Stromata, wliich are lost, lie attempted formally to demonstrate 
the harmony between philosophy and Christianity ; and he en- 
deavored to reconcile with tlie principles of reason whatever ap- 
peared strange and incredible in the Christian faith. And yet 
Origen himself, — and it greatly diminishes his fault, — treated 
this slippery and hazardous business Avith becoming prudence 
and modesty, and he repeatedly stated, that he timidly proposed 
conjectures, rather than inculcated and decided positively. But 
his disciples, who were very numerous, followed the speculations 
of their teacher, too confidentl}-, and not unfrequently they put 
forth as certainties, what he had only stated as probabilities, and 
which he requested wise men to examine more profoundly. (*) 

(1) Of Origen, — than whom, the church down to the times of Constantine, 
contained no greater man, — of his life, hia virtues and iiis faults, his o})inion3 
nnd his errors, enough has been debated and written by Christians, during 
almost fourteen centuries, to fill out a volume of no small size. Great and 
excellent men, in former times, stood forth as his patrons and advocates; and 
they continue to do so still. But men equally great and excellent, to this day, 
have been h\H adversaries. And in fact, both to assail and to defend him, and 
with arguments of great apparent force, would not be difficult for an ingenious 
man, wlio would assume either office. Jn the life, labors, and opinions of Origen, 
there are many things of such excellence and worth, as must extort admiration 
from the most reluctant : and If a person regard these things only, he may 
easily persuade himself, that vyhatever appeared to conflict with such great ex- 
cellencies must have been only slight faults, or perhaps were the fabrications 
and slanders of enemies, or the false constructions put upon allowable, or even 
upon correct opinions. On the other hand, there are among his opinions so 
many strangely divergent not only from our belief but also from the plainest 
dictates of reason, so many that are ridiculous and absurd, especially when view- 
ed separately and apart from that system of doctrine to which he was attached, 
that they might excite our disgust, and induce the belief that this well meaning 
man was lacking In common sense : and if a person should fix his attention 
upon these things exclusively, he might easily be led to believe, that whatever 
appears great or illustrious in Origen may have arisen from slight or accidental 
causes, and be ascribable to the instincts of nature, or to his copying after 
others, rather than to the deliberate decisions of his own mind. And hence, al- 
though the long controversies respecting Origen, like most other controversies 
among men, arose in no small degree from passion and prejudice, yet the man 
[p. 606.] himself, who was so many times both attacked and defended, was, pecu- 
liarly, in utrmnque partem disputahilis, us Seneca expresses it; for he was a 
compound of contrarities, wise and unwise, acute and stupid, judicious and in- 
judicious, the enemy of superstition and its patron, a strenuous defender of 
Christianity and its corrupter, energetic and irresolute, one to whom the Bible 
owes much, and from whom it has suffered much. Of the great number of facts in 



Orujcn. 145 

regard lo Origcn, which have long been before the public, or which \wv^\\i have 
been brought forward, (for man)- have never been noticed.) I shall, for the ^sako 
of brevity, adduce only such as I deem necessary to account for the great 
changes he produced in the state of the church. For. although his bishop 
expelled him from the chuix;h, and he was afterwards assailed hy numerous 
public and private condemnations, yet not only were many of iiis worst opinion!; 
Buffi-red to go unrebukcd, but his practice of explaining religions truths by 
means of philosophy, and of turning the inspired books into allegories, was very 
generally approved and adopted among Christians. Some institutions, like- 
wise, which originated from his doctrines, took deep root and were at length 
regarded as sacred. It need not be stated that at all times there have been 
great men, and men of distinguished piety, who have esteemed Origen very 
highly, extolled his wrilings, and recommended their j)crusal by theologians, 
and have maintained that all the deci>ions against Origeti were unjust. It 
would therefore be no mistake to say, that, as Constantine the Great imparted 
a new form to the civil state, so this Egyptian imparted a new form to the 
theology of Christians. 

Among the wiiters concerning Origen, his opinions, and the contests they 
occasioned, the most eminent is undoubtedly Peter Daniel Ihiet; whose elabo- 
rate and very erudite work, in three books, entitled Origeniana, is the copious 
fountain from which all the more recent writers concerning Origen have drawn. 
Charles de la Rue, a Benedictine, the rccent editor of Origen's works, designed 
to republish Muet's Origeniana, with additional notes and observations; but 
death frustrated the purpose of that learned man. Whoever may take up tho 
design of de la Rue, and pursue it judiciously and impartially, will find the un- 
dertaking to be great and the materials abundant. For, great and excellent as 
the work of Iluet is in its kind, it is not without faults and defects, [n the 
first place, it is incomplete: for it does not state and explain all the peculiar 
doctrines of Origen, but only those which were pubUcIy censured and con- 
demned. I could easily show, to any man wishing to be informed, that Origen 
held many otiier opinions equally novel, false and pernicious with those charged 
upon him ; which however, for diverse rcasons, no person censured or condemned. 
Again, although no person can judge correctly of Origen's theology, [p. 607.J 
without well understanding his philosophy, which contained the grounds of hia 
lingular opinions on divine subjects, y(!t Huet neglects this whole subject, 
supposing that it was sufficient to say, generally, that Origen introduced tho 
Academy almost entire into the church. The work of this very learned man 
is also badly arranged. For, in reviewing those doctrines of Origen which 
brought him into ill repute, he does not follow the order of nature, but that of 
the schools: nor does he show us how Origen's opinions stood connected with 
and dependent on each other, but he arranges them all under general heads 
without regard to their connexion. This mode of proceeding was quite favora- 
ble to his main purpose, which was simply to vindicate Origen; but it h em- 
barrassing to those who wish to gain a correct knowledge and a just estimate 
of the errors of that great man. For it is not easy to judge of the importance 
of any error, without tracing it to its source and seeing its connexion with 

VOL, U. 11 



146 Centunj Ill-^Secthn 27. 

opinions to which it is related; because many sentiments, considered opart and 
by themselves, appear worthy of toleration or excuse, but if considered in con- 
nexion with their origin and consequences, they assume a difterent aspect, and 
become portentous. Lastly, throuirliout his work lluct labors to cxhil)it Orit^^en 
lis less censurable than his adversaries made him, and thus assumes the ofhco 
of a patron and advocate, rather than that of a cautious guarded historian and a 
wise judge. 

Among the arguments by which Huet thinks he can justify Origen, though 
not wholly, some are of considerable force, but others are quite weak and in- 
efficient. Of the former character is the man's very great modesty ; which 
also his early defender, Pamphilus, and among the moderns, Haloix, (in his 
Origines defensus. Lib. ii. c. 2.) have urged against his accusers. And it is true 
(hat, in many places, Origen professes not to decide positively, but only to bring 
forward, modestly and timidly, probable conjectures. Thus in his work de Prin- 
cipiis, Lib. i. c. 6. J !• P- 69, when entering on a discussion respecting the end 
or consummation of the world, he deprecates all offence, by saying; Quie quidern 
a nobis ctiam cum magno metu et cautela dicuntur, discutientibus magis et 
pertractantibus, quam pro certo ac defniito statuentibus. Indicatum namque a 
nobis in superioribus est, qua) sint de quibus manifesto dogmate terminandura 

eit. Nunc autern disputandi specie magis, quam definiendi, pront possu- 

Dius, exercemur. And he closes the chapter, (p. 71,) with a plain acknowledg- 
ment of his ignorance of the future condition of our bodies after the destruction 
of the world. Certius tamen qualiter se habitura sit res, scit solus Dens et si 
qui ejus per Christum et Spiritum sanctum amici sunt. In the passage on the in- 
carnation of Christ, (Je Principiis, Lib. ii. c. 6. { 2. p. 90,) he says : De qiio nos non 
[p. 608.] temeritate r.liqua, sed quoniam ordo loci deposcit ea magis, quae fidea 
nostra continet,quam qusB humanse rationisassertio vindicare solet, quam paucissi- 
mis proferemus, suspiciones potius iioslra s qnnm manifestas aliquas affirmationes 
in medium proferentes. And, lest any should misunderstand him, he closes tho 
whole discussion with this sentence, (p. 92.) : Haec interim nobis ad prrcsena 
de rebus tarn difficilibus disputantibus, id est, de iiTcarnatione ct de deitate Christi 
occurrcre potuerunt. Si quis sane melius aliquid poterit invenire et evidentio- 
ribus de Scripturis Sanctis assertionibus confirmare quae dicit, ilia potius q«ara 
haec recipiantur. Similar protestations occur everywhere in his work de Prhi' 
cipii!^, and in his other writings. Somolimes he brings forward two or threo 
explications of the same thing, and leaves it optional with his readers to select 
Buy one of them, or to reject the whole. De Princip. Lib. ii. c. 3. \ 6. p. 83: 
His igitur tribus oi)inionibus de fine omnium et de summa beatitudine prout 
eentirc potuimus adumbratis, unusquisque legentium apud semetipsum diligen- 

lius et scrupulosius judicet si potest aliqua harum probari vel eligi. To 

this his commendable modesty, may be added his very great inconstancy in tho 
explication of religious doctrines. For he does not always and everywhere 
advance the same sentiments, but, on the gravest subjects, he exhibits different 
views at different times and in different places: whence it is manifest, that the 
man changed his own views, and that he did not wish to })rescribe laws for hu- 
man thought. For example, if wo compare the different statements he makea 



OrlgeiCs Character. I47 

rpspoctinjT tlie divine Trinity, or respecting Christ, and tlic Holy Spirit, we must 
be persuaded tliat to liim, if to any one, the lines of Horace arc applicable, 
(Epistles, Lib. i. ep. 1.) 

Quo loiicam vultus miitantcm Protoa nodo? 
Quod petilt, spernit, rcpctil quod nuper oinisit. 
Diruit. aniiflcat, mutat quudrata rotuudis. 
For, the Sabellians, the Arians, the Nicenists, and others, can all very plausibly 
lay claim to him. The cause of this modesty and instability, 1 will state pre- 
sently. But those who wish correctly to understand what sort of a man Orii^en 
was should remember, that he was not always and uniformly controlled by 
modesty and instability. His timidity and changeableness are apparent, when 
lie offers philosophical explanalions of those Christian docti'ines which theologi- 
nns call revealed truths, that is, of the doctrines which we learn exclusively 
from the Bible, such as tlie doctrine of three persons in the Godhead, the doc- 
trine of Christ, of the Holy Spirit, and of the resurrection of our bodies. For 
while he assumes it as certain, that even these doctrines are accordant with tho 
teachings of re:ison, or with the philosophy which is agreeable to reason, and 
that the former may be legitimately deduced from the latter; yet he does not 
pretend that he is one who can show infallibly how they stand connected, 
although he has no doubts that others, more intelligent than he, may be able 
to do it. But he is much more bold and confident, when expound- [p. 609.] 
ing the doctrines which lie within the sphere of human knowledge, or the 
doctrines of natural religion, such as those concerning God, the world, the soul, 
&c. For these he thinks should be e.xplained, — and he himself confidently e.v- 
plains them, in accordance with the precepts of that philosophy which he 
embraced as true; and he sometimes ridiculed those who choose to hold these 
doctrines, simply, and according to the literal statement of the Scriptures, 
rather than to allow reason to ex])lain and modify them. Take for example, 
what he says in the second book of his Principia, respecting the human soul of 
Christ, and the union of the divine with the human nature in our Savior. On 
this subject, having assumed that the soul of Christ was of the same nature 
witli ours, he unhesitatingly applies to Christ's soul whatever he had learned 
respecting tlie human soul in the school of his master, Ammonius; and thus 
he produced a doctrine pregnant with dangerous consequences, and one alto- 
gether unknown in the Scriptures. Still it must be admitted, that although tho 
modesty and inconstancy of Origen did not extend so far as his patrons and 
fidvoeates wish us to believe, yet they do serve to vindicate him in a degree. — 
And of similar tendency is, what Jerome testifies of him, (Epist. Ixv. c. 4.) that 
he wrote to Fabian, the Roman bishop, that his friend Ambrose had published 
some of his writings which he did not wish to have go abroad. And yet, in 
the works which he undoubtedly wished to see circulated unlimitedly, there arc 

passages enough that may be censured, If now, over and above these ex- 

tenuation^j, we look at the apologies for Origen by Pamphilus, Haloix, Miran- 
dula, Huet, and his many other advocates, we shall find little that can satisfy a 
sagacious and impartial mind. For example, it is true, as his friends assert, that 
the accusers of Origen dis.agreo among themselves, and charge him \vilh coiv 



148 Century III.— Section 27. 

trary errors; but llic inference they would draw, tliat therefore Origen wns in- 
nocent jind was borne down by falsi; accusations, will not follow. For they 
themselves admit, that Ori^aMi was not uniform in ids belief, and that he uttered 
different sentiments at different times, accordinnr to the occasions, ihe persons 
he was combaltiug", and the particular state of i)is mind. And hence, he is not 
unfrequently at variance with himself, and the opinion he advanced at one time, 
he afterwards exchanged for another altogether different. And it may be added, 
that Origen is not the same man when calmly seated in the teacher's chair, as 
he is when, with heated feeling-^ he comes forth as n disputant and encounters 
.in antagonist. As a teacher, he writes soberly, and as he really thinks; but 
when he is disputing, he does not state just what he believes or regards as trne» 
but frequently such things, true or f;dse, as are suited to embarrass his adver- 
sary. It would be easy to show, that he considered disputes as to be settled as 
wars are, or that it was not important, whether his antagonist was prostrated by 
guile and subtilty or by valor in combat. And hence, the positions he assumes 
[p. 610.] when confronting Celsus, or the Jews, or the heretics, are entirely dif- 
ferent from those he lays down when calmly expounding Christian truth as a 
teacher. — No more account do I make of the argument, with which nearly all 
the patrons of Origen surfeit us, that many other doctors of the ancient church 
taught just as he did on many points of theology. For, not to insist on the 
principle that the multitude of those who embrace an error does not make it 
true, it was the fact, that most of those who agreed with Origen, lived after 
him, and they appear to have received their opinions from him, as being the 
common teacher of the church. Besides, these other doctors who tench and 
maintain the same doctrines with Origen, understood those doctrines differently 
from what he did, and they were led in a very different manner into the belief 

of them. We will now take a nearer view of the man under consideration. 

AwA., first., we will speak of the man liimself; ihen^ of his philosophy; and 
lastly, of his theology, and his method of explaining religious subjects. 

In the first place, Origen himself, if judged by his moral worth, was unques- 
tionably a great and estimable man, and one who has had ^q\w equals in any age. 
Nor would it divest him of this praise, if it were perfectly true, (as stated by 
Epiphanius, Hajres. Ixiv. e. 2.) that at Alexandria he was once brought to 
the alternative of either sacrificing to the gods, or yielding his body to be 
polluted by an Ethiopian; and that to avoid the infamy, he promised to offer 
sacrifice; yet he did not do so, for he retracted his promise, and the incenso 
placed in his hands was shaken into the (ire by the bystanders. Men of high 
character have maintained, and with pretty strong arguments, that this story 
should be classed among slanderous fables. But, suppose it true, and it will 
only prove that Origen, being (suddenly arrested, and thrown off his guard, 
hastily concluded that he should sin less by sacrificing to the gods, thau by 
yielding his body to be stained with eternal infamy by the Ethiopian ; but that 
he presently recovered himself, and instantly reversed his determination. In 
this, I think, no one can find any great and wilful fault. For who among the 
holiest of mortals is so uniformly wise, that, in the most trying circumstancest 
he consents to no divergence from the strictest rule of duty 1 Yet, except this 



Orlgens Character. 149 

one tliingf, Origen posses-icd every excellence that can ndorn the Christian 
character; uncommon piety, from his very childhood; astonishinn- devotedness 
to th;it most holy rcli«;ion which he professed; unequalled persevt'rance in 
labors and toils for the advancement of the Christian cause ; untiring zeal for tho 
cluirch, and for the extension of Christianity ; an elevation of soul uhic-h phiced 
him above all ordinary desires or fears; a most permanent contempt of wealth, 
honors, pleasures,and of death itself ; the purest trust in the Lord Jesns, [p. 611.] 
for whose sake, when he was old and oppressed with ills of every kind, he patient- 
ly and perseveringly endured the severest suflerings. It is not strange, therefore, 
tliat he was held in so high estimation, both while he lived and after death. 
Certainly if any man deserves to stand first in the catalogue of saints and mar- 
tyrs, and to be aiuuially held up as an example to Christians, this is the man: 
for, except the apostles of Jesus Christ and their companions, I know of no 
one, among all those enrolled and honored as saints, who excelled him in holi- 
ness and virtue. lie was censured indeed, by Demetrius and others, for having 
emasculated himself: and I will not acquit him of all fault in that matter. 
But the fault itself is such as demonstrates the strength of his resolution, and 
his devotcdness to religion, nor could it be committed by an ordinary man. 

But Origen does not appear equally great, when estimated by his native 
powers. Undoubtedly he possessed genius, had a very happy memory, great 
thirst for knowledge, a very fertile imagination, and uncommon elocjuence and 
powers of teaching; and these caused both Christians and pagans to listen to 
him, with intense interest, when 1)6 taught philosophy and other divine and hu- 
man sciences in the Christian school of Alexandria. But those who are capable 
of judging, and are familiar with his writings, will not rank iiim among ge- 
niuses of the highest order. Certainly he was not one who, as the saying is, 
could swim without his board; i. e. not one who, by the inherent powers of 
his own mind, could examine truth in its fundamental principles, and discover 
and judge what is accordant with those principles, and what is not. He was 
6uch a philosopher as many in this and every age, who can treasure up in their 
memory and well understand the systems of doctrine inculcated by their teach- 
ers, and can bring out their acquired knowledge, pertinently, when questions 
and occasions demand it ; and if any obstruction is thrown in their path, they 
can swerve a little this way or that, yet always are sure that the truth lies 
wholly within the sphere of their received instructions. For it is very certain 
that Origen never travels, in thought or argument, beyond the bounds of that 
knowledge which he received in early life from his teachers; he never philoso- 
phises freely, and in the exercise of his own ingenuity, but regards the system 
he imbibed from Ammonius as the only rational and sound philosophy. And 
hence, so long as this philosophy, which was his sole reliance, supplies suitable 
matter for his discussions ar.d compositions, he appears a valuable writer, and 
treats his subjects with acuteness and ingenuity ; but when destitute of such aid, 
as is frequently the case, he is like a man travelling in a foreign country, who 
does understand how the roads run. This is no where more apparent than in his 
book against Celsus, the assailant of Christianity. In that work, so long as [p.6r2] 
he can draw from his philosophy, he appears foreeable and methodical ; but when 



150 Century Ill.—Scction 27. 



this resource fails him, Ills arguments are weak, .nnd sometimes fiilile. These 
remarks explain, ichij the man, wiio on many topics is a wij-'c and acute rea- 
boner, is on others jiuerile. Unassisted, he rarely produces anything of much 
importance; but when sustained hy his masti-r, or by ihe instructions of the 
Bible, he appears very respectable. The learning of Origen, for the age in 
which he lived, was abundant and excellent. He had read immensely, and was 
Acquainted with the doctrines of all sects, both of philosophers and Christians. 
He had acquired from the Greeks their polite learning ; and he was not igno- 
Fiint of mathematics. In the philosophical department, dialectics, physic, astro- 
nomy, &c., he was well versed, in the way before stated, namely, whatever he 
had received from the lips of teachers or had learned from books, he retained 
well in memory, and had at command. Jn Hebrew learning he had some 
knowledge. In short, he had travelled through the wiu)le encyclopajdia of liu- 
man knowledge in that age, and he was justly accounted a universal scholar, 
both by the Christians and by other people. 

We now proceed to his philosophy. Besides CZemen.s iiZeo;. rector of the 
Christian school at Alexandria, a follower of the eclectic mode of pliilosophiz- 
ing, he had for his preceptor Ammonius Saccas, the celebrated founder of the 
new Platonic school, who, while he sought to bring all sects of philosophers to 
agreement, adopted the principle that the philoso})hers differed only on trivial 
points, and were agreed in matters of importance to virtue and happiness; and 
consequently, that there is but one ijhUosophy, though under different forms, or 
differently stated. Now that philosophy, which Origen regarded as true, and as 
recognized by all the philosophers, was the Ammonian or the new Platonic, 
though slightly modified, that it might not conflict with Christian principles, 
with which it stood in the closest alliance. Of this philosophy I will give a 
brief summary, which it is easy to deduce from the writings of Origen : to state 
it fully, would be needless. 

All things that exist, whether corporeal or void of gross matter, emanated 
eternally from God, the source of all things. This first principle of the new 
Platonic school, derived from Egyptian wisdom, as we have elsewhere 
shown, was the basis or foundation of Origen's philosophy. But the Christian 
scriptures reject this doctrine, taken in the sense in which the Platonists under- 
stood it. For the Platonists believed the world to be without beginning, and 
without end, or to have flowed forth from God eternally, and to be destined to 
continue for ever. The Christian's Bible, on the contrary, clearly teaches that 
the world was created at a certain time, and that at a certain time it will perish. 
[p. 613.] Origen therefore thought it necessary to modify this doctrine, and 
adjust it to the instructions of Christianity ; and so he introduced the idea of a 
perpetual succession or propagation of worlds. Innumerable worlds similar 
to this, existed and perished, before the present world was produced ; and after 
this world shall end, innumerable otiiers will exist in endless succession. (See 
de Principiis, lib. iii. c. 5. Opp. toin. i. p. 149.) Now admitting this doctrine, a 
person may believe the declarations of the Scriptures respecting (he origin and 
the end of this world, and at the same time hold the Platonic dogma of the 
eternal efflux of the world from God, and its eternal duration. Yet this theory 



Orirjens Phihsophj. 151 

of an cfernnl seiios of worlds, successively sprinn^ing up and filling to ruin, 
thoii«;fli not ivqnirin<j: any great powers of mind for its invenlion, did not ori^Mn- 
ate with Oriijen. lie sinijily adcpted it from the Stoics and others, in conipli- 
nnce with the precept of the eclectic philosophy, that the truth is to be feathered 
from all sects. — We proceed; Souls, like all other finite thinjrs, cman«ted from 
tlie divine nature, long- before the material world was formed ; and they wero 
originally all equal in their nature, in moral excellence, and in rank ; and all 
therefore, with no exception, had in them some combination or admixture of 
corporeal substance. For Origen uniformly inculcates, that only the divine Be- 
ing is altogether free fronu-orporeal matter and of a simple nature; that all the 
other beings endowed with reason, or all finite spirits, are enclosed in a sort of 
subtile and etherial vehicles, or a drapery of a corporeal nature. All souls more- 
over, possess free will, and equal power to do good or to do ill, or are able 
freely to do the one or the other. And this power or freedom of choice, is so 
inherent in them, that it can never become extinct and lost. Origcn, (de Prin- 
cij)p. lib. ii. c. 8. sec. 2. p. 94.) defines a soul to be subsfantiam ratumahiUter 
sensibikm et mcbilem: which definition may be understood from what has been 
said. On this freedom of volilion, which is a property of nil souls without ex- 
ception, depend all the changes in human affairs whether past or future, all the 
changes in the universe, all the distinctions and differences among men and 
spirits, all the variations in the divine decrees and proceedings. For some 
souls, while in their celestial state, before this world was created, used their free 
will wisely and properly ; but others abused it, in differejit ways, some mora 
grievously, and others more lightly. And therefore divine justice demanded, 
that the souls which had misused their liberty should undergo some punish- 
ment. And hence came the present world, and the race of men. For God de- 
creed, that the sinning souls sliould be clothed in grosser bodies, so that they 
might sufiTer in them the penalties of their temerity. And as there was o-reat 
diversity in the offences committed by them, it became necessarv for God to 
create bodies of different kir.ds or natures, so that he might assign to each a 
body suited to the magnitude and enormity of the sins which defiled it. [p. 614.] 
Some souls were therefore lodged in those splendid bodies, the sun, the moon, 
and the stars: for it was the belief of Origen, that all the stars have souls. 
Others were doomed to inhabit human bodies, whicli are vastly inferior in 
strength, healthiness, beauty, <l-c., btcnuselhe souls to be imprisoned in them 
had in many ways deviated froni the paih of rectitude and virtue, and therefore 
deserved various kinds of chastisement for their ill deserts. Others, the de- 
mons for example, were attached to bodies more teiuious indeed than ours, 
but extremely ugly, and such as vehemently excite the soul to evil. Hy the 
wisdom of the supreme Being, all these bodies are skilfully lo(;ated, and most 
filly r.rranged, so as to pi'oduce the admirable fibric of the created world. But 
let us hear Origen explain his own views; (de Privcijiii^, lil'. ii. c. 9. sec. 6, 
p 99.) Deus ffiquales creavit omnes ac similes, quos creavit, quijpe (pium 
nulla ei caussa varietafis ac diversitatis existeret. Verurn qiioniam raliouabilca 
ipsrc creatur;c - - arbitrii ficultale donatio sunt : lihertas ununuiiiem(]ue volun- 
tatis suce vel ud profectum per imilationem Dei provocavit, vcl ad defect uin per 



152 Century III— Section 27. 

negligentiam traxit. Et hsec ex8titit caussa diversitatis inter lationaLiles crea- 
turns, non ex conditoris voluntate vel judicio originem trahens, sod propria) li- 
bertatis arbitrio. Dens vero cui jam creaturam suain pro meritodispensarejiis- 
tum vjdebatur, diversitatcs montiiiin in iinius mundi eonsonantiam traxit, quo 
velut unani domum, in qua inosse dubcrent non solum vasa aurea et argentea, 
Ked et lignea et fictilia, ex istis diversis vasis vel aniniis vel mentibus oniaret. 
Et has caussas mundus iste suae diversitatia accepit, dum unumquemque divina 
providentia pro varietate motuum suorum vel animorum propositique dispensat. 
And, after a few sentences, he thus recapitulates the whole statement: (sec. 8. 
p. 100.) Unumquodque vas (i. e. anima) secundum mensuram puritatis suae 
aut impuritatis locum, vel regionera, vel eonditionem nascendi vel explendi 
aliquid in hoc mundo accepit: qua3 omnia Deus usque ad minimum vh-tute 
sapientia3 suae providens ac dignoscens, moderamine jiulicii sui sequissima retri- 
butione univcrsa disponit, quatenus unicuique pro merito vel succurri vel con- 
sul! deberet. Oiigen explains and inculcates this opnion often and largely; 
and not without reason: for he supposed it to be of vast importance, for the 
vindication of the divine wisdom and justice, and that it accounts for the end- 
less diversities which exist among men and spirits. The souls, distributed 
through so many and such diversified bodies, do not change their essential 
nature; and of course they retain their native freedom of volition. And 
although they can not use their free will for good with the same success, as 
they did in their celestial state when disconnected with gross matter, yet they 
[p. 615.] are not by any means so oppressed and fettered by their bodies as to 
be unable, if they would but exert their rational powers, to improve slowly 
their condition, and gradually to recover their former beauty. Therefore such 
souls as exert their native powers, and by contemplation and other means sever 
themselves from the imagination and senses and from the concupiscence gene- 
rated by the body, are thereby gradually purified; and, on becoming released 
from their bodies, they are again elevated to their former state. Yet they do 
not recover their primitive felicity, at once and in a moment, but they pass, by 
a slow process, through various changes up to God. And the souls which ne- 
glect this duty, will either migrate into other bodies, or will be subjected to 
some harsher modes of purgation, until they shall repent and begin to exert 
their liberty for good. And when all souls shall have returned to their primi- 
tive state and to God, then this material world will be dissolved. But because, 
from their very nature, souls can never lose their Ucc will, nor, consequently, 
(he power of abusing their freedom, the very souls that have overcome the evils 
of this life, as well as others, may and will aga!n depart from duty and from God, 
and then again deserve punishment. And whenever their number shall be 
sufficiently large, God must again create bodies, and out of them frame a new 
world in which he can punish the violators of his eternal law, each according 
to his merits and the magnitude of his otlence. And of this successive rise or 
worlds, there will be no end ; because the liberty of the will, which naturally 
belongs to all souls, prevents their ever arriving at an unchangeable constancy 
in good. To judge correctly of iho theology, whieh Origen based on this phi- 
losophy, we must keep in view his two preceptors, Clement, of Alexandria, and 



Origens regard for P/nhsopIn/. 153 

Ammnnius. The former of these, as we have already shown, held philosopiiy 
in very high estimation; and he maintained that philosophy correctly under- 
stood, and freed from the false notions of the sects, does not disagree with the 
religion of Christ. The latter, Ammonins, not only sought to reconcile the 
Christian religion with the precepts of his philosopiiy, but he also believed, as 
already sliown, that Christianity could be reconciled with the Pagan religions, 
provided they were rightly explained and were divested of the fables and error 
brouglit into them by the vulgar and by the priests. Now Origen, treading in 
the footsteps of his teachers, regarded philosophy as a precious gift of God ; 
and he supposed that the wisdom proclaimed by Christ, although more sublime 
and perfect than philosophy, was nevertheless based upon it; and that all 
Christian doctrines might be explained and vindicated by philosophy. Indeed, 
it is not to be concealed, that he coincided with Ammonius in the belief that 
the popular religions, if their fables and superstition were excluded, might in 
a measure be combined with Christianity. In order to reconcile the worship 
of one God, which Christianity requires, witli paying homage to many gods, 
Ammonius assumed, that God had committed the administration and [p. 616.] 
government of the various parts of the universe to demons of great power and 
virtue; and that it was reasonable and proper that some honor and public reve- 
rence be paid to these powerful ministers of the divine Providence : because 
God, the supreme Lord, is honored in the person of his friends ; just as the 
respect paid to the vicegerents and envoys of earthly kings and princes, re- 
dounds to the honor of the kings and princes whom they represent. More- 
©ver, these legates and ministers of God have the power of conferring benefits 
on men, such as health, a salubrious atmosphere, fruitful seasons, and all the 
comforts of life ; and on the other hand, they have power in various ways to 
harm those who desjiise them. And hence, the interests of mankind require, 
that some worship should be paid to them; and the people of the primitive 
ages were divinely instructed to do this; but, in process of time, a depraved 
human belief converted these ministers of God into imaginary deities, and in- 
troduced numerous errors and corrupt rites, and even caused the worship of the 
supreme Being to become almost extinct and lost. Now if these faults were 
corrected, and the worship of the demons restored to its pristine t-implicity, 
there would be nothing to forbid men's paying supreme homage to the one su- 
preme God, and at the same time, yielding reverence to the ministers of God, 
in the ancient manner, in certain places, at proj)er times, and with suitable 
rites. And to these views, for substance, Origen gave assent. He believed, 
that God has committed the care and government of the several provinces of 
his great empire, the universe, to angels of different orders, who are the guar- 
dians and protectors not only of nations, but of individual men, and also of ani- 
mals, the fruits of the earth, &c. Whether prayers and worsliip i-hould bo of- 
fered to these angels, he does not explicitly state, in any of his works that have 
reached us: and yet, in a few passages, he does not disguise the fict that ho 
leaned much towards an opinion but little diverse from that of Amnioniua 
above stated, respecting the union of the worship of one God wiih the worship 
of demons. See liuet's Origeniana, Lib. ii. p. 89. 



154 Century IIL—Section 27. 

Orig-cn's Idea of the relation and connexion between Christianity :'nd })hilo- 
eophy, may be learned distinctly from two passages in his writings still presrrv- 
•cd. The first passnge is in his Phi/ccalia, taken from his epi>tle to Gre/^ory 
Tiiaumaturgus, bi>hop of Neocassarea, and exhibited in the edition of hiswoiks 
by Charles de la Rue, torn, i, p. 30. Here Origen asserts, that philosopiiy is as 
important to Christian theology, as geometry, mubic, gr.imniar, rhetoric and as- 
tronomy are to philosophy: 'OTt^ pari fiXorojictv naif is -nf^l yioyf-^i'^pini - - - wf 
CVpffi^-osv fi\oTofiay ToDd"' vjUiii cfr<j},uiv cTg vipl dwy^s 9i\o^opiai nidi ^pii^T lavi^uoy. 

This, lie says, in reference to the true philosophy, or philosophy purified from 
the corrnptions and figments of the sects : and such he believed to be the philo- 
eophy which he had learned from Ammonius, after correcting it in a few point3 
[p. 617.] to make it harmonize with Christianity, 'i herefore, as astroiiomy, 
geometry, music, and the other sciences are useful to a philosopher for siiarpen- 
ing his acumen, strengthening his reasoning powers, and enabling him to com- 
prehend and arrange more perfectly the precepts of i)hilosopIiy ; so, he sup- 
posed, philosophy is useful to a theologian, as helping l.im to acquire just 
views of Christian doctrines and to give just expositions of them. In the oiher 
passnge, (which is in his xv. Homily on Genesis, sec. 3. 0pp. torn. ii. 98.) he 
discourses more at large, and not only of what he considered the true philoso- 
phy, but also of the current philosopiiy of the d.iy, whether true or fal-e. Ho 
first lays down this proposition : Philosophia neque in omnibus le<ri Dei coii. 
traria est, neque in omnibus consona: and he then explains both parts of the 
proposition, adducing examples for illustration. On the agreement ot'piiiloso- 
phy wiih the divine law, he says : Multi enim philosophorum unum esse Deum, 
qui cnneta oreavcrif, scribunt. In hoc consen!iunt legi Dei. Aliqu;!n:i etiam 
hoc addiderunt, quod Deus cur.cta per verbum suum et fecerit et regat, et ver- 
bum Dei sit, quo cuncta moderentur. In hoc iion solum legi, sed etiam Evan- 
geliis consona seribunt. Moralis vero et physica, qua3 dicitnr, ihilusnphia^ 
paene omnia qua? nostra sunt sentiunt. He then proceeds to the points of dis- 
agreement between the divine law and philosophy, thus: Dissident vero a no- 
bis, cum Deo dicunt esse materinm coa?ternam. Dissident, cum Deum negant 
curare mortali.i, sed providentiam ejus supra lunaris globi spntia cohiberi. Dis- 
sident a nobis, cum vitas naf-ccntium ex stellarum cursibus per.dunt. Dissi- 
dent, cum sempiternuin dicunt hune mundum et nullo fine elaudendum. Sed 
et :di.i plurima sunt, in quibus nobis(um vel disvi.lent vel concordant. These 
Btatenients of Origen will be better understood, if we consider his subdivisions 
of philosophy ; namely, that philosophy was commonly divided into tlu'ee parts, 
logic, physics and ethics, or into rational, natural and moral Therefore, as he 
most explicitly affirms, that the philosophers agree perfectly with the Christi:in9 
in physics and ethics, or in natural and mor.d pl.ilosophy, it is clear that the 
whole disngreemeut between |>hilosophy and Christianity, in his opinion, re- 
lated to logic or rational piiilosojhy. But his rational philosophy is not that 
which we understand by tlie term ; but it is ontology, or our pneumatohgy, 
cosmogony, and natural theology, as is manifest from the ex.-imples he adduces. 
This his rational philosophy, as taught by the philosophical sects, was, Jiccoid- 
ing to his judgment, in many things contrary to the Christian religion: but if 



Ori(/cn's TJicology. 155 

frocil f.'O'.n tlic errors niul lalso opinions of llic set-ts, ;iiul ni:ulo lo conform to 
tlu' 1ru:li, it u«>nKl coiitr.in noil ii«^- inc'on>ist(.'nt wi'.li Clirislianity. And this 
true ralit'n.il philo.^oiiliy, he bt'licvc d lo be- tli:it which he h;;d learned in Iho 
school of AminoiiiiKs. This was ihe pliilosopiiy, which lie wished to associate 
>vilh diiistian truth, and to produce a system embracing boMi. 

liiiw large a place in Iheology, Origen would allow to what he [p. G18.] 
accounted true philosoj'hy, and by what laws he would combine them together, 
we nrc now to show. In the first place, he allirmed, that all the things which 
must be believed in ordi-r to salvaliun, are most [)lainly set forlh in the Scrip- 
tures: ard these things, lie would have men simply believe without subjecting 
them at :ill to the dominion of p!;ilosoi)hy. Thus, in the introduction to hi3 
work de Priiicipiis (see. 3. |». 47.) he SJiys : Illud aufem scire oportet, qnoniam 
sancti Apostoli fidem Christi pra^dicantes, de quibusdam quidem qucccunque 
necessari:i (adsalutem) crediderunt, omnibus etiam his qui pigriores erga inqui- 
sitionem divina3 scientia) videbantur, maivfestissime tradiderunt. And of the 
doctrines which he supposed were taught in the clearest manner in the Bible, 
and which should be received without dubitalion or criticism, he made out a 
sort of catalogue. It i- this: (I) There is one God, the author and creator of 
all things. (II) In these last days, this God hath sent Christ to call first the Jews, 
and then other nations. (Ill) Jesus Christ was born of the Father, anterior to the 
creation (ante omnem creaturam),aud was the minister of the Father in thecrca- 
lion of all things. (IV) The same Christ, although lie was God, was made man, 
and became ir.carnate ; and being made man, he remained God as he was before ; 
he truly suflered, truly died, and truly rose again. (V) In honor and dignity, 
the Holy Spirit is au associate of the Father and the Son. (VI) Every soul 
posses>es reason, and free volition and choice; and, when removed f.-om the 
body, will be rewarded or punished aecoiding to its deserts. (VII) Our bodies 
will be raised in a state highly imi)nived. (VIII) A devil and his angels 
exist; and they strive to immerse men in sins. (IX) This world will lu reaftcr 
be dissolved. (X) The holy Scriptures weio dictated 1 y the Spirit of God ; 
and they have a twofold seu'e, the one obvious, the other latent. (XI) There 
are good angels and powers, wl.ieh minister to the salvatiiMi of men. Tliepe, 
he says, are specimens (sjecies) of the ihhigs that are niar.iiestly inculcated in 
the Apostolic annunci.ition. This language seems to imply, that Ori<4en did 
not aim to make a complete enumeration of the doctrines clearly taught in 
the Bible and nccessaiy to be known, but only to give a speci7iien ofsuch a col- 
lection. Yet of this [ ; m not entirely ceitain, and I leave others to decide. 

But the inspired men, by whom the })rincij'.al truths of religion are stated 
KO intelligibly to all, have left other truths in some obscurity. In the first 
place, they have not clearly stated the nrou7icls and reasons of the trnlhs which 
they require us to believe: that is, they have not shown us how the reve.iled 
truths they teach stand related to the first jirinciples of truth and reason. 
And again, the things themselves, they have indeed stated clearly enough ; but 
of the how, 7chy ixvd wherefore they are so, they are silent. And here the in- 
dustry of wise and perspicacious christians may find employment ; first, in 
Bcarching out and demonstrating, by the aids of philosoi)liy, the groujiJs a:ui 



156 Century III.— Section 27. 

[p. 619.] reasons of the doctrines divinely revealed ; and secondly, in dctermin. 
ing, on the principk-s of a true philosophy, the modes and relations of the 
things revealed in v'le L**cripture^. Such, I suppose, were Origen's views : but 
let us hear his own word^. In the preface to iiis work de Principiis, he says: 
Ralionem astertionis eoruni reli(|uerunt (Apostoli) ab his inquirendam, qui 
Spiritus dona exeellentiora niererentur, et proecipue sermonis, sapientiae et 
Ecientiae gratiani per ipsum Spirituni Sanctum percepisseut. Here we are 
taught, that the things at first obscure, afterwards become more clear. Again 
he says: Dc alils vero dixerunt quidem, quia sint : ^ womot/o autem, aut unde 
sint, siluerunt ; profecto ut studiusiores quique ex posteris suis, qui amatores 
essent sapientiaj, exereilinm habere possent, in quo ingenii sui frnctum osten- 
derent, iii videlicet qui dignos se et capaces ad recipiendnni sapientiam prae- 
pararent. The^e statements need exemplification ; and Origen himself affords 
it. That the world at a certain time began to exist, and will a(, a certain 
time perish, is incontrovertible, and is most expressly affirmed in Scripture. 
But for what cause it was created, and why it will be destroyed, we are very 
obscurely informed. Therefore, these are things to be investigated by the aid 
of philo^5ophy. — That men have apostatised, is clear; but the causes of their 
apostasy are not equally manifest, and therefore must be inquired after. — 
That the Holy Spirit, no less than tlie Son, proceeded from the Father, the 
S^-riptures manifestly teach ; but the mode of the procession, they do not 
define. He subjoins : In hoc non jam manifesto decernitur, utrum (Spiritus S.) 
natus an innatus, vel filius etiam Dei ipse habendus sit, nee ne. Scd inqui- 
renda jam ista pro viribus sunt de sacra scriptura et sagaci perquisitione 
investiganda. — That the devil and his angels are real existences, and also the 
angels of an opposite character, no person who has read the Bible will deny. 
Of these he tells us ; Sunt quidem hajc ; qiicc autem sint, aut quomodo sint, non 
satis cl.ire exposuit. Here, therefore, he who seeks for knowledge, must labor 
for it. 

On this subject it is especially to be noticed, that both here and elsewhere 
Origen teaches, that the Holy Scriptures are not entirely silent respecting the 
causes or reasons of the truths they assert, but as it were give us intimations 
of them ; but respecting the modes or forms of the things, they are wholly 
silent. And hence, they who attempt, by the aid of philosophy, to explore the 
inmost recesses of theology, or in other words, to bring into the li(^ht what 
the Scriptures have lelt in the dark, — have not, in all cases, the same task to 
perform, and the same success to antii-ipate. Those who labor to explain the 
causes or reasons of the truths taught in tlie Bible, must not only call philoso- 
phy to their aid, but must also carefully search out the arcane senses of Holy 
Scripture. For Origen firmly believed, that under cover of the words, phrases, 
images, and narratives of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit had concealed the in- 
ternal reasons and grounds of things; or, as he himself expresses it, that in the 
body of holy writ, (so he denominates the proper seiise of the words,) there was 
[p. 620.] a soul, (an arcane and recondite sense,) and that this soul exhibits, to 
careful contemplaters of it, as it were in a mirror, the causes, connections, and 
dependencies of both human and divine wisdom. In this he trod in the path of 



Origeris Thcologrj. 157 

P/j//o Judaeus; whom he, — following the example and authorify of Clement^ his 
pitH'e|it(tr, — ivirarded as the wisest of all e.\i)loreis of the true sense of 
Seripturt', and therclore followed as his iruide. — HiU wIumi I hi; modes^ or forms 
of the thing-s are to be ex.imined, the philosophic theologian need not resort to 
the s:iered Scriptures; because, aa they say nothing of the modes of things, he 
must trust and follow his own ingenuity and the dictates of philosophv. A pas- 
sage already cited is applicable here; but I will adduce another, equ:!lly expli- 
cit, and admir.ibly illustrative of the char.icter of Oiigen's system. He siys, 
(p. 49) : Oportct igitur, velut elemenlis ac I'uiidaiiK.'ntis hnju-modi uli secun- 
dum mandatum quod dicit: Illuminate xobis lumen scienlLc (Hose, x. 12, Sep- 
tuag.) oinneni, qui cupit seriem quamdam et corpus ex horuin omnium rationc 
perlicere, ut m:ini:eslis ct uccessariis as'^erlioiiibns de s-ingulis, quibus(|ue quid 
eit in vero riiuetnr et unum (ut diximus) corpus etliciat exemplis et alliiin:itioni. 
bus, vel his quas in sane'. is Scriptinis invencrit (i. e., he who would combine 
theology and philosophy, and Irom both frame one system, must endeavor to 
nscertaiu the grounds and reasons of the doctrines, by examining into the arcane 
sense of the sacred books.) vel quas ex conscquenlioe ipsins indagine ac recti 
tenorc repererit, (i. e. but if the jnode is the thing sought for, of wliicli the Scrip- 
tures say nothing, then it is sullicient to explain and define it in accordance 
with {tenore recli) the dictates of philosophy.) — These statements may enable 
us to understind why Origen, in explaining religious truths generally betakes 
himself first to reason and philosophy, and then recurs to the s;icred or.iclcs, 
to elucidate by them his explanations, and to confirm his conjectures by some 
similitude; but sometimes, without consulting the Scriptures at all, he makes 
philosophy his sole guide. The former is his course, when he supposes the in- 
quiry relates to the causes of things; and the latter when the modes or forms 
are discussed. Yet as these two things are intimately connected and often 
scarcely sepnrable, he not unfrequcnlly confounds them, and but seldom discri- 
minates accurately between them. 

The labor of investigating the causes or reasons of the revealed truths and 
doctrines by appeals to the Scriptures, is more arduous and dirficult than tho 
labor of exploring and defining the modes oi' forms of holy things. Because, 
for the former, the illumination and aid of the Holy Spirit are necessary ; and 
none can succeed in it, (as he says,) "except those who have acquired the more 
excellent gifts of the Holy Spirit, and, especially. h:ive obtained, through tho 
Holy Spirit, the gift of language, of wisdom, and of knowledge." This he re- 
peats often, both in his work de Principiis and elsewhere, declaring [p. 6:21.] 
that they only are competent to this work whom God deems worthy of his spe- 
cial friendship. He s.ays, repeatedly : Certius sciunt, qui Dei per Christum et 
Spiritum Sanctum amici sunt. The full force of iiis declarations can be under- 
stood by those only who are familiar with the theology of the ancient Chris- 
tians. It was an established opinion among them, one that prevailed long be- 
fore the times of Origen, that the proper and natural sense of the words of the 
Bible is obvious to all readers who are not heedless and stupid; but that what 
Origen calls spirtialem inlelUgenliam — the remote sense, or that latent under 
the words and things, — is manifest only to those whom the Holy Spirit in- 



158 Centinnj Ill—Section 27. 

structs nnd illuininntc^. And this gift of the Holy Spirit, whii-li confiTS the 
power of discovering tlic inysterit's hidden in tlie snered books, Ihey called the 
gift ofwisdimi and knouiedge ; :ind of this gift tliey understood St. Paul to speak, 
1 Cor. .\ii. 8 ; "For to one is given h^ the Spirit the word of wisdom Cac^raj); 
to another the word of knowledge {yvuiO-tua) by the same Spirit." And iience 
they were accustomed to use the word knowledge (jvutTn) to designate the 
mystical sense of the Bible. Sec Jo. Ern. Grabe's Spicil. Patr. et Ilajreticor. 
Saec. i. p. 328; and tlie notes of the learned on the Epistle of Barnabas, \ 6. 
Now, as Origen believed, that in the Scriptures the Holy Spirit teaches us — 
not indeed by the xcords but by the things which the words indicate, not openly 
but covertly, by allegories and enigmas — how the peculiar doctrines of Chris- 
tianity harmonize with each other, and with the decisions of philosophy, it was 
natural for him to assert, thnt divine assistance is necessnry for drawing this 
nut out of its envelope. — 'J'lie other task, that of exploring the 7nodfs of things, 
was less diflicult ; because, in addition to a knowledge of true })hilosophy, it 
required only an earnest application of the powers of the human mind. And 
hence, as r.itional truth and revealed or heavenly truth do not disagree, a saga- 
cious man, possessing sound reason, can easily di-cover their agreeniint. Yet 
he does not deny, but declares often and in various terms, that as divine things 
are more sublime and excellent than human, great care is necessary lest we 
misjudge in such matters; and that some parts of the Christian religion are so 
difficult, that they c:in scarcely, if at all, be adequately explained by human 
phrases and analogies. Of this nature, he gravely tells us, is the doctrine of 
the union of two natures in Christ, which, though he explains it according to 
the principles of his philosophy, yet he bids his hearers remember, can never be 
fully explained. Of this doctrine he fays (de Principp. L. ii. c. 6. J 2. p. 90) : 
"I suppose that it is beyond the comprehension of even the holy Apostles; 
nay, perhaps, the explanation of this sacrament exceeds all created intelligence 
among the Angels." — From these statements, I think, we may learn the cause 
of the great modesty and timidity which Origen exhibits in his exposition of 
many topics in theology. He supposed no one, unless having familiar inter- 
[p. 622.] course with God, and receiving thcgifl of wisdom and knowledge, could 
successfully explore the hidden meanings of the Bible; but whether he himself 
had obtained this gift from God, he dared not decide. He therefore alwiiys ap- 
proached this species of discussion with timidity, and he left it timidly ; h-o 
almost never affirmed positively, that he had ascertained the true import of the 
texts he discussed. He assumes more confidence, indeed, when he thinks the 
coincidence between theology and philosophy to be manifest ; and he seems, 
sometimes, to know and be positive, rather than diffidently to utter his 
opinions. Yet, as he fully believed that many things in theology are beyond 
human comprehension, he seldom discusses what we call the mysteries of reli- 
gion, in a manner that would imply the impossibility that anything more satis- 
fiictory can be said of them. On the contrary, he almost invariably declares 
himself ready to change his opinion, if any friend of God can offer more correct 
views of the subject. 

It will now be seen, if I mistake not, of what nature and magnitude were 



Orir/en's Philosopliic Theology. 15ft 

tljosc ofToMCCs of Ori^en u<jnin3t Cliris'.imity, uhi.Ii occasioned so nnicli con- 
troversy during so many ages. Tliey all originated from tula one princij)le, 
whic'i lie regarded as beyond all controversy, I'.iat suck ajjln'Uy and congruilij 
exist bclween ChrlslianUy and human reason, that not only the grounds but also 
the forms of all Christian doctrines may be explained by the dicta'es if 'philosophy. 
Yet this error, tliougli not small, might be considered only a slight stain upon 
that holy and extraordinary man, if it h:id not been carried beyond mere specu- 
lation. Bat he recommeniled to the preachers of Christianity, to carry what he 
tauy^ht into use ajid general practice; and he preseribi-d for their gnid ince tho 
following maxia: That it is xastly important to the honor and odcantajc of 
C'lristianitij, that all its doctrines be traced bade to the sources of all truth, or bs 
shown to flow from the principles of philosophy ; and consequently, that a Chris- 
tian theologian should exert his ingenuity and industry primarily, to demonstrate 
Vie harmony between religion and reason,or to show that there is nothing taught in 
the l^criptures but what is founded in reason. He himself, as \\a have seen, fol- 
lowed thii his prect'pt with some degree of moderation and prudence ; but by 
1 lying down this principle, and also by his exunple, he gave to the more daring 
ample power and licence to do violence to revealed truth, and to strangely pervert 
the plainest doctrines of the Bd)le, so that they might appear in harmony with a 
true or false philosophy. His direction to make apj)eals to the Scriptures, might 
fceem to counteract ihe evil, but, in reality, it increased and amplified it. For, 
by teaching tlint the philosophical reasons of all the Christian doctrines lie con- 
cealed in the narration and sentences of the Bible, and should be drawn forth 
by art an I ingenuity, he prompted the indiscreet and those of exuberant imagi- 
nations, as it were, to put out the light of revelation, or obscure its simple wis- 
dom, by their childish and silly allegories. — The foundation of all his faults 
vas, that he fully believed nothing to be more true and certain than [p. 623.] 
what the philosophy he received from Ammonias taught him respecting God, 
the world, souls, demons, &c. ; and therefore he in a measure recast and re- 
modelled the doctrines of Christ, after the pattern of that philosophy, doing it 
indeed, for the most part, modestly and hesitatingly, but sometimes quito 
boldly, and in a style somewhat authoritative. 

The entire system of philosophical religion which existed in the mind of 
Origen, no one has fully delineated: nor was Origen uniform and consistent in 
his statements of it ; for he discards at one time what he affirms at another. A 
large part of his system, however, will be obvious to one who considers what 
we have already said of his philosophy, and especially what he held respcc'ting 
the origination of all things from God, the free-will of souls, their transgressing 
in their primitive state, and before their union with bodies, and other kindred 
subjects; for, while he was undecided on many other topics, on these he had no 
doubts; and therefore he constantly applied these views to the explication of 
the Christian doctrines. — Specimens of his opinions on the most essential 
pointa in theology, are all we shall present for the gratification of those wish- 
ing to know these matters. In the first place, he supposed that all the decla- 
rations of the Scriptures respecting the Father, the Son, and thcf Holy Spirit, 
might be easily reconciled with his philosophy. For, believing that all things 



160 Century III— Section 27, 

eternally emanated from tlie divine nature, lie .-ittributed to the Son and to the 
Holy Spirit the iiiiiliest rank among- these emanalloiis from the divine nature. 
And he always and uniformly compares tlieir origination from the Faiher, with 
the efflui: of the solar rays from the sun; and teaches that these solar rays, 
although of the same nature with the sun from which they flow, are yet only 
minute particles of the solar light and heat issuing from the immeniic mass; 
and that they sustain the same relation to their source, as small streams i<suing 
from great lakes, sustain to those lakes. In his opinion, therefore, the Father 
is the prime cause of all things, and the Snn is a secondary cause, and, as it 
Avere, the instrument by which the Father created the world, and ditfused widely 
his beneficence ; just as a cloud, wiien fecundated by the sun's rays, scatters and 
spreads those r.iys over the e;irlh. In evolving and expanding this doctrine, 
Origen is wonderfully variable; so that he sometimes seems to come very near 
the views of the Nicenc fathers, at other times to incline towards the Snbellians, 
and at times to agree with the Arians. If we would judge him correctly and 
fairly, we must, I think, keep in view his first or fundamental principles. — Ori- 
gen finds greater difficulty when he attempts to reconcile with his philosophy 
what the Scrii)tures teach re^«pecting the union of two natures in Christ. 
For he thought it utterly impossible that God, a being entirely separate from 
matter, shouhl ever assume a body, or be willing to associate himself with mat- 
ter. He expressly tells us, (de Princip. L. ii. c. 6. p. 90.) : Non cnim possibUe 
crat Dei natiiram corpori sine mediatore nilscerl. That is, the divine nature, being 
[p. 624.] generically a different substance from matter, the two substances cannot 
possibly be commingled. To overcome this obstacle, and yet exclude from 
the divine nature all propension towards a body or matter, he conceived that 
God did not receive the man, but the man received God. Yet not the whole 
man did so, but only the srml, the principal part of man. Tliat soul, which mi- 
grated into the body of Chri.^t and inhabited it, exerted more perfectly than all 
the souls which emanated from God, its free-will, in the wisest and best man- 
ner, in its primitive state, and expended all its energies in the contemplation 
of the Son of God, the first emanation from the divine nature. This persever- 
ing and most intense consideration or contemplation of the Word or Son of 
God, procured for this soul the privilege that it received the entire Word of 
God into itself, or itself passed entire into the Son of God, (it is uncertain 
wliich.) and thus it became one person with the Son of God. Hear his own 
statement, (de Princip. L, ii, c. 6. p. 90.) : Cum pro liberi avbitrii facultate varic- 
tas unumquemque ac diveritas animorum habuisset, ut alius ardentiore, alius 
tenuiore et exiliore crga auctorem suum amore teneretur, ilia anima, de qua 
dixit Jesus: quia nemo auferet a me animam meam (Joh. x. 18,) ab initio 
creaturae et deinceps inseparabiliter ei atque indissociabiliter inhaerens, utpotc 
sapienticc et verbo Dei et veritati ac luci verac, et tota totum recipiens, atque in 
ejus lucem splendoremquc ipsa cedens, facta est cum ipso principaliter unu3 
spiritus. - - - Unus spiritus esse cum Deo cui magis convenit, quam huic animaa 
quae se ita Deo per dilectionem junxit, ut cum co unus spiritus merito dicatun 
What Origen here asserts of the soul of Christ, appears to us as a mere as- 
sumption ; but he regarded it as accordant both with the dictates of reason and 



J 



OrigeiCs views of Atonement. 161 

t!ie declarations of Scripture. By reason, he tliiis supports his opinion : No 
one can be rewarded or punished by God, unless he merits it. Because God, 
being most wise and righteous, can do nothing inconsiderately or without good 
reason. And therefore he must distribute both happiness and misery, accord- 
ing to the merits of those who are susceptible of them. Hence it follows, that 
this supreme felicity which the soul of Christ received, was conferred upon it, 
solely because of its merits. And if so, then it follows that this soul excelled 
all others in its love to God, and in consequence of this love, became united to 
the Son of God. — As for scriptural evidence, he supposed tlve words^of David, 
Ps. xlv. 8. [The sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre,] were especi;illy 
favorable to his opinion: and with that text, he connected others both from the 
Old Testament and the New. — By means of this union of the soul of Christ 
with the Word or Son of God, it became possible for God to be united to a hu- 
man body: not indeed directly, and by itself, but indirectly, through the soul 
to which he was united. For, according to Origen's views, every linite spirit 
is clothed with a tenuous body or a subtile kind of matter, which subtile mat- 
ter, without any ditliculty, can coalesce with the grosser kind of matter of which 
our bodies are composed. And in a finite spirit, like the soul, the desire [p. 625.1 
may arise for greater happiness ; and consequently, also a wish to possess a body. 
lie says: Hac ergo substantia animaa inter Deum carnemque mediante, (non 
enim possibile crat Dei naturam corpori sine mediatore misceri) nascitur Deus 
liomo, ilia substantia media existente, cui utique contra naturam non erat cor- 
pus assumere. Sed neque rursus anima ilia, utpote substantia rationabilis, 
contra naturam habuit capere Deum, in quern, uti superius diximus, velut in 
verbum et sapientiam et veritatem tota jam cesserat. Unde et merito etiam ipsa 
cum ea, quam assumserat, carne, Dei filius, el Dei virtus, Christus et sapientia ap- 
j)t?latur: et rursum Dei filius, per quern omnia creata sunt, Jesus Christus et filius 
iiominis nominatur. — But if these things were so, then most assuredly the Son 
of God did not connect himself with human flesh ; but it was the soul of Christ 
that became incarnate. Nor did the Word or Son of God, though dwelling in 
a body, have any intercourse with that body, (according to Origen, that was 
impossible,) but only the soulW\i\\ which the Word had some affinity, commu- 
nicated with the body : that is, the soul, having so coalesced with the Son of 
God as to be one spirit, governed the body, and so regulated all its movements 
that they could not swerve from the rule of rectitude and duty. Moreover, the 
moving cause of the descent of the Son of God to this earth and of the incarnii- 
tion, was not in God, in his good will towards mankind; but it was in the soul 
of Jesus Christ. For this soul first perseveringly longed after communion with 
the Word or Son of God, and, by the right use of its freedom of choice, ob- 
tained it ; and afterwards, it desired to be joined with matter or to a body, which, 
according to Origen, the divine nature never could desire. And, therefore, in 
this whole matter, the Son of God had no concern, except that he became 
united with the soul of Christ, and tiien permitted that soul to follow its wishes 
and inclinations. 

As to the object and consequences of the advent of the Son of God to our 
world, and of his sufferings and death, Origen nowhere fully and explicitly 

12 



163 Centimj III.— Section 27. 

states his views ; but that his opinions on this subject were very different from 
those of modern Christians, and from the faith taught in the Scriptures, liis 
philosophical notions respecting' the soul and other matters, will not allow us to 
doubt. And in various passages he does not disguise the fact, although he may 
seem to take much pains not to let his hearers fully understand him. One 
thing indeed he often states, namely, that Christ by his death made atonement, 
not for the sins committed by souls in their primitive state before they inha- 
bited bodies, but for their sins in the body ; and so far his opinions do not 
differ from the common views of Christians. But it is quite otherwise, if we 
carefully weigh what he abundantly inculcates. I will not dwell on his belief, 
that the sacrifice of Christ had a reference to the sun, the moon, and all the 
stars, and to demons and angels; for, while his philosophy taught him that 
sinning souls inhabited not only human bodies, but likewise other material 
[p. 626.] objects, and also the demons, both those wholly depraved and those 
but partially bereft of their native beauty, and that Christ proffers aid to all 
souls estranged from God ; he could not possibly think otherwise. But, what 
is vastly more important, Origen was — if I am not wholly deceived — ignorant of 
the vicarious nature of Christ's atonement, or he did not hold that Christ, in 
our stead, paid to divine justice the penalty of our ill deserts. Nor will this 
appear strange, if we consider that he denied the communion of the Son of God 
with the body of Christ, and the union of the divine and human natures in 
Christ, or what we call the hypostatic union ; and that he held, as we have be- 
fore stated, that only the soul of Christ was connected with the Word or Son 
of God ; from which it must indubitably follow, that the pangs and death of 
Christ's body were only those of the man Christ, and not also of God joined 
with human nature ; and that the blood which Christ shed was only the blood of 
a man, and not the blood of God ; or, what is the same thing, that Christ, not as 
both God AND man, but only as a wan, expiated the sins of mankind. And if 
this be admitted, all that we teach respecting the vicarious satisfiiction of Christ 
falls to the ground. — If now the inquiry be raised, in what manner he supposed 
the death of Christ to take away the sins of men ? I answer, first : he is no- 
where explicit on this subject. Yet I will add, that he seems to have held, that 
the effusion of Christ's blood was sufficient to jpurify men and to appease divine 
justice. He has a long passage on this subject, in his 24th Homily, on the book 
of Numbers, \ 1. (0pp. tom. ii. p. 362, 363.) From this passage his views are 
more clearly learned than from any others. He first asserts: Omnepeccatum pro- 
pitiationem requirere ; propitiationem autcm non fieri, nisi per hostiam, id est, per 
sanguinem victimcc Deo ohlatcc ; eaque re necessarium fuisse, ut provideretur 
hostia pro peccatis hominum. All this seems well enough; but what he goes on to 
say, and the inferences he makes, clearly show, that he attached to this language 
a very different meaning from that common among Christians. For he asserts, that 
the blood of any righteous person can expiate the sins of a portion of mankind; 
and especially if the righteous person, at the time he dies and pours out his 
blood, prays God to pardon those for whom he dies. Between the sacrifice of 
Christ and those which holy and righteous men, such as Paul, Abel, and others, 
present to God by their death, there are two points of difference, viz. : first, the 



Origcn's Views of Atonement. 1G3 

sacrifice cf Christ was universal, or extended to the whole human race, while 
those of other righteous persons can benefit only a portion of mankind before 
God ; secondly, the blood of righteous men derives its efficacy chiefly from the 
prayers of those men ; while Christ, being God, can remit sins, solely by his 
power, on account of his death : Vide ergo, ne forte sicut Dominus et Salvator 
noster, quasi agnus ad occisionem ductus et in sacrificium altaris oblatus, pecca- 
torum remissionem universo prcestitit mundo : ita fortasse (a modest [p. 627.] 
statement, as usual with him, but in accordance with his real belief, as the whole 
context shows,) et cseterorum sanctorum ac justorum sanguis, qui effusus est a 
sanguine Abel justi usque ad sanguincm Zacharioe prophets, alterius quidem 
sanguis sicut vitula3, alterius sicut hirci, aut caprae aut alicujus horum fusus 
est adexpiandum pro aliqua parte populum. And this, he thinks, can be proved 
from the law of Moses. For while the law required various kinds of animals, 
lambs, calves, goats, &c., to be immolated to God for sin, Origen supposed 
slain lambs to be emblems of Christ's death, but that the other animals repre- 
sented the deaths of holy and righteous men. Hear him explicitly stating this 
strange doctrine : Quod si agnus, qui ad purificandum populum datus est, ad 
personam Domini et Salvatoiis nostri refertur, eonsequens videtur, quod etiam 
cffitera animalia, quae eisdem purificativis usibus deputata sunt, referri dibeant 
similiter ad aliquas personas, qua3 purificationis aliquid humano generi confe- 
rant. And he repeats tiie same thing a little after, adding that perhaps also 
some of the angels and celestial spirits may offer themselves to God, as victims 
to expiate the sins of men: Sic ergo fortassis et si quis angelorum, coelestium- 
que virtutum, aut si quis justorum hominum, vel etiam sanctorum prophetarum 
atque apostolorum, qui enixius interveniat (i. e. precelur) pro peccatis hominum, 
hie pro repropitiatione divina, velut aries, aut vitulus, aut hircus oblatus esse in 
sacriticium ob purificalionem populo impetrandam accipi potest. After elucidat- 
ing this subject by the example of Paul, whose language (in Rom. ix. 3, 1 could 
wish myself accursed, &c. ; and in 2 Tim. iv. 6, 1 am now ready to be offered, 
Sm.) he cites in confirmation ; and after fully explaining his views, he returns 
to the consideration of Christ's sacrifice, and its difference from human victims, 
and tells us: Talis ha3c fuit (Chrisli) hostia ut una sola sufficeret pro totius 
mundi salute ; cceieri enim precibus peccata, hie solus potestate dimisit. Strikingly 
coincident herewith are his remarks concerning martyrs and their blood, in his 
Exhorialio ad Marlyi'ium, near the end : Forte, quemadmodum nos pretioso 
Christi sanguine redempti sumus; ita et quidam pretioso martyrum sanguine 

redimuntur : ot/Taj tw Tiy-tta aiuari ruv /nafTvfbyv dyopafr^-YiO-ovrai nvec' • 

Origen did not suppose, and, for various reasons, he could not suppose, that 
those holy and righteous men, the martyrs, who (as he believed,) expiated the 
sins of some men by their death or blood, were, either by God or by their own 
act, substituted in the place of the persons whose sins they expiated, and so 
endured the penalties due to God for other men's sins; and therefore, neither did 
he believe that Christ — whose death he regarded as not in itself differing from 
the sufferings of those holy and righteous persons — was a substitute for the hu- 
man race, and endured our penalties. And, consequently, we must f p. 628.] 
believe that Origen thought the mere blood of an innocent person could, of 



164 Century IIL—Sectlon 27. 

itself, move God to pardon sinners ; and that, for the remission of sins, divine 
justice does not require the penalties of them to be endured, either by the via- 
laters of the law or by their substitutes. 

What ICC most reli^nously believe, namely, that the Son of God satisfied 
the divine law in our slead, and, by his most perfect obedience, merited for us a 
title to eternal life, — all this was alien from the philosophical religion of Origen. 
According to his belief, there resides in the minds of all men a free will, a na- 
tive power of obeying the divine commands, which, when excited by a know- 
ledge of divine truth, a^id aided by tlie influences of the Holy Spirit, can so con- 
trol and govern all the movements and actions of the man, as to make those 
actions perfectly harmonize with the divine will. Nor can God, — as Origen 
clearly states in several places, — bestow the rewards of law, or the forfeited 
eternal felicity, upon any souls except the meritorious; that is, such as exert 
wisely and properly their innate liberty. For as souls, by the depraved use of 
their liberty, have deservedly lost their happiness and been thrust into these 
human bodies, so also, by their own merits, and not by those of another, they 
must return to God, and regain their lost felicity. — I need not proceed further; 
enough has been stated to show what is the character of Origen's philosophical 
theology, which differed marvellously from that of Christians at the present 
day. Yet if any are desirous of examining the entire system of this celebrated 
man, and of judging correctly of the controversies of so many great men respect- 
ing his sentiments, (which, I can recognize no one hitherto as doing,) they 
must, first of all, investigate, methodically digest, and intelligibly explain that 
philosophy which Origen has given us by fragments in his writings; and this 
being done, it will be readily perceived, that they labor in vain who would per- 
suade us that Origen had the same views of religion as most Christians of the 
present day. For example: distinguished men dispute, with great earnestness, 
what opinion did Origen hold in regard to the resurrection, or the return of 
souls to their bodies; and some accuse, and some defend him. T confess I am 
ignorant of his opinion ; for on this subject, as on many others, he is variable 
and inconstant in the exposition of his views. But if I compare the Christian 
doctrine of the resurrection with his philosophical precepts, I readily see that 
he must have viewed the subject differently from us. For while he places the 
whole of man in his soul, and regards the concrete visible body, in which the 
soul lodges, as no part of human nature, but only the penitentiary or prison of 
the soul, it is evident that he could not suppose a soul, at the end of its pe- 
riod of exile, and when purged from its sins, would again become coupled with 
its body. — There is another thing generally overlooked by the disputants con- 
cerning Origen, which is of vast importance in their discussions. As Origen 
held to a two-fold religion, the one popular and the other philosophical; 
[p. 629.] so he treated religion in a two-fold manner, sometimes in a popular 
way and sometimes philosophically. Now, those who overlook this fact may 
ofte« suppose him to disagree with himself, while, in reality, he is entirely con- 
sistent ; and this is one cause of the endless disputes respecting his theology. 
They who plead his cause and defend his reputation, cite the passages in which 
he explains religious subjects as he would have them stated to the common 



Origcn's Allegories. 1(J5 

people ; and because, in tliese passages, he states divine trutlis just as tho 
Scriptures and the common preachers of Christianity do, they thiniv liis bolder 
and more artificial statements should be amended so as to agree with the 
former; and they err greatly by confounding his exterior doctrines, suited to 
common apprehension, with his interior expositions, which he intended only for 
the ears of learned men. And those who accuse him of errors, argue from the 
passages in which he explains and accounts for the Christian doctrines on tlie 
principles of philosophy. This they have a right to do; yet they fall into two 
mistakes : Firi^t, they conclude from these passages that Origen drew away 
Christians from the ancient and simple religion of the earlier times, and plunged 
them in a sea of empty speculation ; which was but partially true. For he did 
not aim to overthrow the ancient and simple religion of the previous ages, which 
he himself taught and recommended; but he wished the supervisors and doctors 
of the Christian church to have a more profound knowledge, and to be able, 
when occasion required it, to explain rationally that simple religion. Secondly: 
they suppose that the real views and opinions of Origen on religious subjects 
may be learned from the passages mentioned; which is sometimes actually 
the case, but not always. For he often gives us his conjectures, rather than his 
fixed opinions ; and in several passages he proposes different opinions on the 
same subject. One thing indeed clearly appears ; on many subjects he thought 
dilferently from other Christians ; and the philosophy which he followed obliged 
him to think differently ; but how he thought, is not, in many cases, equally 
clear; and, not unfrequently, he did not know himself how he ought to think. 

§ XXVIII. Origen's allegorical expositions. Origeil's new me- 
thod of explaining and illustrating religious truths by means of 
philosophy, required also a new method of expounding the sacred 
Scriptures. For, meeting with many things in the Scriptures 
repugnant to tlie decisions of his philosophy, he deemed it ne- 
cessar}^ to devise some method of removing this disagreement. 
And as it would add confirmation to his opinions^ if he could 
make it appear that they were supported by the authority of 
Scripture, some plausible way was to be devised which [p. 630.] 
should make his speculations appear to be taught in the holy ora- 
cles. Therefore, taking up the ancient doctrine of the Pharisees 
and Essenes, which also he had learned from his preceptor, Cle- 
ment^ namely, that of a double sense in holy Scripture, ho am- 
plified and adorned it so ingeniously that it afforded him am- 
jjlc means of bending the sense of Scripture to suit his purpose, 
and eliminating from the Bible Avhatever Avas repugnant to his 
favorite opinions.(') Yet strange as it may appear, this same 
Origen, — who had offered so much violence to the sacred books, 
and almost subverted their true meaning, — resolutely undertook 



166 Century III.— Section 28. 

and most patiently accomplished an incredible labor in aid of 
tbose who wish to investigate the literal sense of scripture, and 
thus produced an enduring monument of his industry, in what 
is called his llexapla. And so, frequently, those who disagree 
with every body, also disagree with themselves ; and having 
magnificently extolled something, are found tacitly disapproving 
and censuring it.Q 

(1) Tliose who wish to stigmatize the memory of Origen, represent him as 
the autiior and inventor of the allegorical mode of interpreting the Scriptures : 
and they account it one of his principal faults, and a great stain upon liis clia- 
racter. His patrons, on the contrary, and particularly Huet, deny that he was 
the author of this mode of interpretation ; and they demonstrate that not only 
Jews, but Christians also, before the days of Origen, recommended the study 
of allegories, both by precept and by their example : and they are angry at the 
ancient and modern assailants of Origen, who criminate him for following the 
example of his precursors; which was only a minor fault, and scarcely deserv- 
ing much rebuke. In my opinion, both his accusers and his vindicators go too 
far. It is very certain that the Jews, and among them the Pharisees especiaMy 
and Essenes, before the birth of our Saviour, believed that in the language of 
the Bible, besides the sense which is obvious to the reader, there is another more 
remote and recondite, concealed under the words of Scripture. And it is 
equally certain that Aristoibulus, and others, and especially that celebrated Alex- 
andrian Jew, Philo, many of whose works have come down to us, — did labor 
to deduce and to confirm the precepts of the philosophy they embraced, from 
and by the books of Moses and the prophets. And, finally, it is manifest that 
this mode of explaining the holy Scriptures was much approved and practised by 
the Christian teachers, before Origen was born ; and those masters of the Alex- 
[p. 631.] andrian school, Panta^nus and Clement, (the latter, Origen's preceptor) 
did tread in the steps of Philo ; and they taught their disciples, according to 
his example, to believe that the elements of all philosophical truth are interwo- 
ven into the history and the laws of the sacred books. Origen therefore had 
for his precursors many men of high character ; and he was not the first who 
brought into the church the study of either sacred allegories in general or phi- 
losophical allegories in particular. And this conduces not a little to diminish 
his f;iult. But, on the other hand, it is manifest that he did not keep himself 
within the bounds which his precursors had placed around this thing ; but he 
allowed himself much greater liberties than the Christian doctors before him 
had deemed allowable. This he himself testifies. For he states repeatedly, 
that he had incurred the odium of many by his mystical interpretations, and 
that he was accused of violating the dignity of the holy Scriptures. In his 
iliirteenth Homily on Genesis, sec. 3. (Opp, tom. ii. p. 95.) he maintains that 
Isaac, — who digged the wells which the Philistines filled up, (Gen. xxvi. 15.) — 
was an emblem of those interpreters who pass by the literal meaning and 
isearch for arcane senses in the sacred volume ; and that the Philistines repre- 



Ongens Allegories. |(^7 

Bented the persons wlio will never go beyond the historic sense of scripture. 
Qui sunt isti, {PhUhlini) qui terra puteos replent? Illi sinedubio, qui in letre 
terrenarn et carnalem intelli,i]:entiam poiiunt, et spiritalem ac niysticuni I'hiudunt, 
lit iiequo ij)si bibaiit, neque alios bibore permittant. From tliis exposition he 
takes occasion to inveigh severely against those who condemned his allegori- 
cal interpretations. Unusquisque nostrum, qui verbum Dei ministrat, puteum 
fodit, et aquam vivam quaerit, ex qua refieiat auditores. Si ergo incipiam et 
ego veteruui dicta discutere et sensum in eisquaerere spiritalem, si eonatus fuero 
velamen legis amovere, et ostendere allegorica esse quae scripta sunt, fodio qui- 
dein puteos, sed statim mihi movebunt calunmias amici litterae et insidlabuntur 
milii, inimicitias continuo et persecutiones parabunt, veritatem negantes stare 
posse super terram. (By lerram, he means the literal sense.) Sed nos si Isaac 
pueri sumus, puteos aqua? viva) diligamus et fontes, a litigiosis et calnmniato- 
ribus recedamus, et relinquamus eos in terra, (i. e. in the literal sense,) quam 
diligant. Nos vero nunquara cessemus puteos aquse vivae fodiendo. (i. e. will 
never cease to follow after allegories.) — A passage not unlike this occurs in his 
seventh Homily on Levit. sec. 4. p. 223, 224. where he enters upon a discussion 
respecting clean and unclean animals and meats, with great caution, not to 
afford weapons to his opposers. De cibis qui per umbram dicuntur, ascenda- 
mus ad eos, qui per spiritum veri sunt cibi. Sed ad ha3C investiganda scripturse 
divinaj testimoniis indigemus, ne quis putet, (amant enim homines exacuere lin- 
gus suas ut gladium) ne quis, inquam, putet, quod ego vim fiiciam scripturia 
divinis, et ea, qua2 de animalibus in lege referuntur, ad homines traham, [p. 632.] 
et de hominibus haec dicta esse confingam. Fortassis enim dicat quis audito- 
rum: cur vim facis Scripturae ? Animalla dicuntur, animalia intelligantur. — 
How came it, I ask, that Origen, by searching for mystical senses of scripture, 
incurred odium in an age when all the Christian doctors, either wholly over- 
looking or but slightly regarding the literal sense, fondly pursued allegories? 
Beyond a doubt it must have arisen from this, that Origen introduced many in- 
novations into this mode of interpretation, and gave new and unheard of rules 
concerning it. Certainly, he would have had no enemies, if he had merely 
affirmed, what no one then called in question, that in addition to the sense 
which the words of Scripture convey, another sense latent in the things describ- 
ed, is to be diligently sought for. This will be manifest, if we consider who 
were the men that inveighed so bitterly against Origen's allegories after he was 
dead: I refer to Eustatius, Epiphanius, Jerome, Augustine, and many others. 
AH these were themselves Allegorists, if I may use that term ; and would un- 
doubtedly have condemned any man, as a great errorist, vvho should have dared 
to impugn the arcane sense of Scripture, or to censure the deriving both doc- 
trines and precepts, and the knowledge of future events, from the narratives 
and laws contained in the Bible. There must, therefore, necessarily, have been 
something new and unusual in Origen's exegetics, which appeared to them per- 
nicious and very dangerous. Otherwise, they would have regarded iiis system 
of interpretation as beautiful and perfectly correct. 

These things being so, it was not altogether wrong to call Origen the au~ 
ikor of the allegoric interpretations: and it becomes an im])ortinit inquiry, what 



168 Centimj III.— Section 28. 

were those additions made by him to the doctrine of allef^ories, which other 
believers in a double sense of scripture deemed altogether inadmissible. The 
first and chief was, that he pronounced a great part of the sacred books to be 
void of meaning if taken literally, and that only the things indicated by the 
words were the signs and emblems of liigher objects. The Christians who had 
previously followed after mystic interpretations, let the truth of the sacred 
narratives and the proper sense of the divine laws and precepts remain in full 
force ; but he turned much of the sacred history into moral fiibles, and no small 
part of the divine precepts into mere allegories. I would not say, that this cor- 
rupt mode of interpretation originated with Origen ; I suppose rather, that be- 
fore him, some among the Jews rejected the grammatical sense of their law, 
and followed only a moral and hidden sense of it. For I perceive that P]iilo,m 
his book de Migratione Ahrahami, (0pp. tom. i. p. 450. ed. Angl.) — notwithstand- 
ing he himself sometimes seems to disregard almost wholly the literal sense, 
yet severely censures a certain class of men, who entirely disregarded the laws 
of Moses, and held only to a mystical interpretation of them : for example, they 
believed that all Moses' injunctions concerning circumcision, should be under- 
stood of the excision of our lusts and passions; and under this cover, they 
[p. 633.] spurned the letter of the law : but Fhilo admonishes them, distinctly, 
that the mystical interpretation of the law should be so pursued, as to leave in- 
violate the dignity and authority of the literal import of tl.e word. He says; 
"EjTei ytif d/ufoTepcjv S7ri(UgX«'&"iii'at> ^«r«o"sws n tcjv dipavCiv dn^i&io-Tipas x-ai ra/xias twit 
9avtgwv dviiTixiirTov. They ovght to regard both, searching critically for the noji-oppa- 
renl (the remote sense), and preserving the manifest unassailed. Of the Therapeiitcc 
I say nothing; because, what Philo tells us of their allegories, in his book de Vita 
Theorelica, does not appear to me sufficiently perspicuous, to justify a positive 
decision that they rejected the literal import of the law. But among Ciiristians, 
there were none, before Origen, who adopted the opinion that many parts of tho 
scriptures were destitute of any literal meaning. And hence it was, that when 
Origen ventured boldly to assert this doctrine, voy many resisted it, and very 
justly feared, that the truth and authority of religion itself would be much en- 
dangered, if the people were told that many things narrated in the Bible never 
took place, and that many things were commanded which must be understood 
far otherwise than the words indicated. And it appears strange, that a man 
of so much discernment should not see, that those very heretics, the Gnostics, 
for instance, whom he sought to confute by this mode of interpretation, might 
very conveniently use it for overthrowing the entire history of the life and 
death of Christ, the truth of which they denied. But I suspect, that Origen be- 
came accustomed to this bold exegesis, in the same school in which he learned 
philosophy. For, those well informed on the subject, know that all the disci- 
ples of Am7nonius interpreted Homer, Hesiod, and the entire history of the pa- 
gan deities, in the very same manner, in which Origen taught his followers to 
interpret a large part of the Bible. Nearly allied to this first fault, was another; 
namely, that he lauded immoderately the recondite and mystical sense of scrijv 
ture, and unreasonably depreciated the grammatical or iiistorical sense. The 
latter he compared to earth, mud, the body, and other things of little value; 



Orlgens Allegories. IGi) 

but the former he compared to the soul, heaven, gold, and the most prceioua 
objects. By such representations he induced the expositors of scripture, to 
think little about the literal sense of passages, and to run enthusiastically after 
the sublimer interpretations. It was very different with the other Christian 
doctors who possessed good sense. Although they highly valued the mystical 
sense, yet they placed an equal value on the grammatical and historical : nay, 
they made the latter the foundation and basis of the former : whence it would 
follow, that no inquiry after the arcane and moral sense should be made, until 
the literal meaning is carefully and accurately ascertained. As the stability 
and authority of the Christian religion depend on the truth of the history given 
us in the Bible, and as the true forms and grounds both of its doctrines and 
precepts are to be learned from the proper sense of the words of scripture ; it 
is manifest, that this religion is equally harmed, by him who makes no [p. 634.] 
account of the literal sense, and by him who considers the words to have no 
meaning. 

Again, it was indeed not altogether a new thing, and yet it was a thing un- 
usual and offensive to many, that Origen sought to derive from the scriptures 
by means of allegories, that philosophy which he had embraced ; and that he 
believed, the philosophical grounds of the Christian doctrines were exhibited, 
though somewhat obscurely, by the sacred writers. Tiiose who, up to that 
time, had sought for allegories in the scriptures, had found there only religious 
or sacred allegories ; i. e. such as referred to Christ, to Antichrist, to the state 
of the church, and to the duties of Christians; but Origen, following the exam- 
ple of Philo Judfeus, whom he was taught by his master Clement to follow as 
a guide, endeavored to make a large part of the Bible teach the dogmas of the 
philosophers. And this was the more offensive to Christians, because many of 
them still continued to regard philosophy as a pestilent thing, and to be for 
ever kept out of the church. Origen was led into this fault, not merely by the 
example of Philo, but also by the doctrine of his preceptor. Ammonias, respect- 
ing the harmony between philosophy and the Christian religion ; the adoption 
of which doctrine, would necessarily lead him to carry philosophy into the holy 
scriptures. Among the dogmas of his acquired philosophy, one of the more 
considerable was, that noted one of the Platonic school respecting a two-fold 
world, a lower and an upper, or a visible and an invisible, a corporeal and a 
spiritual; and of the correspondences of things in this xislble world, wWh the 
things of the invisible or conceived world. Considering this doctrine as most 
certain, he transferred it entire to the holy scriptures ; and therefore he affirm- 
ed, that whatever the inspired writers tell us respecting changes and occur- 
rences in this lower and visible world, relates also to the affairs and the history 
of the upper and invisible world. Of this doctrine we shall say more hereafter. 
But it being then altogether novel and strange to the ears of Christians, it 
could not fail to excite great complaints among those attached to the ancient 
Christian simplicity. — Now, as all the opinions we have mentioned, were dis- 
pleasing to most Christian teachers, so the rules of interpretation introduced 
by Origen to advance them, could not but displease many, and be rejected not 
only as novel, but also as injurious to the scriptures and to their author. Be- 



170 Century Ill—Section 28. 

fore the times ofOrigen, the investigation of scriptural allegories was altoge- 
tiier unsettled, or regulated by almost no laws or fixed principles. And, there- 
fore, when he attempted to subject it to fixed rules, founded on his own opi- 
nions, he might be accounted, and he actually was, an innovator. 

As to the causes which induced Origen to amplify and to systematize the 
allegoric mode of interpreting scripture, it must be admitted, in the first place, 
that much was due to the excessively fecund genius of the man, to the custo- 
mary practice among the Egyptians, to his education, to the instruction of his 
[p. 635.] preceptors, and to the example both of the philosophers whom he 
admired, and of the Jews, especially Philo. But in addition to these external 
and natural causes, as they mny be called, there were others originating from 
his own deliberate judgment : and among the latter, some were not dishonora- 
ble, or unworthy of a religious teacher desirous of advancing the cause of Chris- 
tianity. First, he hoped that the Jews would more readily be persuaded to 
embrace Christianity, if certain portions of the Old Testament were explained 
mystically and allegorically. For he supposed certain prophecies, which, if con- 
strued literally, would not refer to Christ, were an obstacle to the Jews' em- 
bracing Christ; but that if these prophecies were explained mystically, and no 
regard paid to the literal sense, the Jews might be more ready to believe that 
all that the ancient prophets foretold concerning the Messiah actually referred 
to Jesus of Nazareth. — Secondly, he supposed that the class of heretics called 
Gnostics, the Basilidians, the Valentinians and others, could not be completely 
put down and confuted, except by the admission of allegories in the Old Tes- 
tament. For these sects, in order to prove that the supreme God, the Father 
of our Saviour, was a different being from him who created this world and 
caused (he Old Testament to be written, cited many passages from the Mosaic 
laws, from the writings of the prophets, and from the historical books of the 
Old Testament, which they considered as unworthy of the majesty and holiness 
of the supreme God, and as indicative of a degree of weakness and wickedness. 
And as Origen despaired of solving these objections, he thought they must be 
avoided by resorting to allegories, and that all the passages with which the 
Gnostics reproached God and his friends and ministers, must be construed in a 
mystical sense worthy of the divine character. These two reasons, Origen 
himself repeatedly mentions ; and especially in his book de Principii.% (Lib. ii. 
c. 8. p. 164. &c.) But if he had been influenced by no reasons besides these, 
his system of interpretation would have extended to only a very small portion 
of the scriptures; and it would not have greatly offended his fellow Christians. 
For others before him, in their disputes with the Jews and the Gnostics, had 
betaken themselves to allegories as their castle. There were therefore other 
reasons for the course he pursued, and reasons of a more exceptionable charac- 
ter. Among these the first undoubtedly was, his attachment to his system of 
philosophy. For, perceiving that many of the facts and declarations of the Bi- 
ble conflicted with the principles of his philosophy, he felt the necessity of 
resorting to some means of escaping their force ; and he could find none more 
easy and effectual than this assumption : Whatever in the sacred books con- 
flicts with my philosophy, must not be taken literally, but must be converted 



Origcns Allegories. 171 

into allegory. Safely posted behind this rule, he could easily resist whatever 
the scriptures might oppose to his opinions, and whatever the [p. 636.] 
philosophers might urge against Christianity. This we see exemplified in his 
book against Celsvs. — Kindred with this was another reason, derived from the 
harmony between Christianity and philosophy. As we have before seen, he 
believed that the grounds of all the doctrines taught in the scriptures, might be 
deduced from the principles of philosophy. And closely connected with this 
opinion, was another, namely, that these philosophical grounds of Christian 
doctrines, were all tauglitin the scriptures, not indeed explicitly, but with some 
obscurity and as it were covertly ; and, therefore, they can be discovered, and 
drawn forth by the sagacious, especially by those whom God favors with the 
gift of language, and of the so-called knowledge. Having assumed this, he was 
obliged to add, that those philosophical grounds of Christian doctrines, are 
wrapt up in figures, images, and facts, in the sacred volume : for if we adhere 
to the lileral meaning, that harmony between religion and philosophy can not 
be found. To these two causes, a third may be added; namely, that Platonic 
dogma, which was firmly established in his mind, that there are two corres- 
ponding worlds, this visible world in which we dwell, and corresponding with 
it an upper or celestial world. And this dogma led him, in construing the Bib- 
lical history of nations and countries, besides the literal import of the words 
which refer to this visible world, to seek for another meaning applicable to the 
world above. — He held two other opinions, both false, yet in his view unques- 
tionable. First, that it was greatly for the honor and glory of Christianity, 
that the holy scriptures, which are its source, should be accounted a book dif- 
fering fundamentally from all human compositions, one full of various and 
recondite mysteries. And that if God is to be considered as the author of the 
book, there must necessarily be and appear in it, a portion, an effect, or some 
exhibition, of that manifold and arcane wisdom which is in God. To this pw- 
pose he frequently expresses himself distinctly. Thus in his fifteenth Homily 
on Genesis, (Opp, torn. ii. p. 99.) he says : Observandum est nobis scripturas 

sanctas legentibus scripturam divinam non (ut plurimis videtur) inern- 

dito et agresti sermone compositam, (i. e. not in the manner in which men are 
accustomed to communicate their thoughts to one another,) sed secundum dis- 
ciplinam divinae eruditionis (i. e. sapiential) aptatam, ncque tantum historicis 
narrationibus, quantum rebus et sensibus mysticis servientem. His first Ho- 
mily on Exod. (Opp. tom. ii. p. 129.) commences thus: Videtur mihi unusquis- 
que sermo divinae scriptura3 similis esse alicui seminum, cujus natura hacc est, 
ut cum jactum fuerit in terram, regeneratum in spicam, vel in quamcunque 
aliam sui generis speciem, multipliciter diffundatur, et tanto curaulatius, quanto 
vel peritus agricola plus seminibus laboris impenderit, vel beneficium terrre 
foecundioris indulserit. - - Ita et hie sermo, qui nunc nobis ex divinis volumi- 
nibus recitatus est, si peritum inveniat et diligentem colonum,cum primo attnctu 
videatur exiguus et brevis, ut coeperit excoli et spiritaliter tructari, crescit [p. 637.] 
in arborem, in ramos, et in virgulta diffunditur. - - Unus sermo ex his, (pue roci- 
tata sunt, in tantum posset longe, lateque difFimdi, si tamen et auditoruni c-a|).i- 
citas sincret, ut vix nobis ad explicandum suflio* !ret dies. And, {de Principiis 



112 Centunj IlT.— Section 28. 

L. iv. see. 26. p. 189.) lie s.iys : Ad qii:im regulani etiam divinarum littevanira 
intelligentia retinenda est, quo scilicet ea, quae dicuntur, non pro vilitate ser- 
monis, sed pro divinitate sancti spirit us, qui easconscribi inspiravit, censeantur. — 
Secondly, In the objections of the enemies of Christianity, there are not a few- 
things which can in no way be fully cleared up and confuted, unless we aban- 
don the historical and grammatical sense, and resort to allegories. Exempliti- 
cations will be given hereafter. Origen was, by his philosophy, disabled for 
answering satisfactorily all the objections adduced against Christianity by the 
pagan priests, the philosophers and the Jews. The pious man could have done 
it easily, if he had been willing to philosophise in a more liberal manner than 
the precepts of his masters allowed. And, therefore, to maintain the honor of 
that religion which he considered equally true with his philosophy,, he went over 
to the side of the AUcgorists ; not perceiving, that in this way the objections of 
the adversaries were not confuted, but in reality were only eluded. 

Peter Daniel Huei has written learnedly on Origen's doctrine of allegories, 
in his Origeniana, Lib. ii. Quasst .xiii. p. 170. : but he writes confusedly, and 
not so much for the purpose of explaining and elucidating the subject, as for 
obscuring it, and for excusing and defending its author. He is therefore an 
unsate guide to an inquirer on this subject. The system of Origen is much 
better stated and explained by a learned French writer whose name I have not 
learned, in a French work entitled, The Literal and the Mystical sense of holy 
Scripture, according to the views of the Fathers. Paris, 1727. 8vo. I have not 
been able to obtain the book ; but Charles de la Rue, the editor of Origen, has 
given a lucid epitome of it, supported by citations from Origen. in his Preface 
to Origen's Works, vol. ii. — I will attempt to state Origen's views, more pre- 
cisely than learned men have hitherto done, to correct their mistakes, to sup- 
ply their deficiencies, and to exhibit this whole system of biblical interpreta- 
tion, so far as it can be ascertdned, in the most correct and intelligible manner 
within my power. 

Origen's doctrine of allegories may be fitly divided into two parts; the Jirst, 
embracing his opinions respecting the diflTerent senses of the holy scriptures ; 
and the second, containing rules for distinguishing the diflTerent senses of scrip- 
ture, and for determining in what passages the literal sense must be abandoned, 
and in what passages a mystical sense may be coupled with the literal sense. 
[p. 638.] The first part comprises the following rnoposiTioxs. 

Prop. I. Holy scripture is like a man. As a man, according to Plato, con- 
sists of three parts, a body, a sensitive soul, and a rational soul; so also the 
sacred books have a threefold sense, a>body or a historical and grammatical 
sense, a soul or a moral sense, and lastly a spirit or a mystical and spiritual 
sense. Origen's Jiflh Homily on Lcvit. sec. 5. (0pp. torn. ii. p. 209.) : 
Triplicem in scripturis divinis intelligenti?e inveniri ssepe diximus modum, his- 
toricum, moralem, et mysticum. Unde et corpus inesse ei, et animam, ac spi- 
ritum intelleximus. De Principiis L. iv. sec. 2. (0pp. tom. i. p. 168.) : Sicut 
homo constare dicitur ex corpore et anima et spiritu : ita etiam sancta scrip- 
tura, quae ad hominum sojutem divina Inrgitione concessa est. Many more pas- 
sages might be adduced from his writings ; but these are suflScient. 



Ori gal's Allegories. 173 

Prop. II. As the flesh or body is the lowest and moat ignoble pnvt of man ; 
so also the literal sense of scripture, which is like the body, is far below or inf^j- 
rior to the moral and the mystical senses. And as the body often induces even 
pious and good men to commit sin ; so also the proper sense of the words of 
scripture may lead incautious readers into errors and faults. Origen's Slromafa 
Lib. X. as quoted by Jerome, Lib. iii. Comm. in Galatas cap. v. (llieronymi 0pp. 
tuin. i. p. 41.) : Non valde cos juvat Historia Scripturse, qui sic earn intelligunt, 
uti scriptaest. Quis enim non doeebitur servire luxuriac, et fornicationem habere 
pro nihilo, quum Judam ad meretricem legerit ingredientem, et Patriarchas ha- 
buisse multas pariter uxores? Quomodo non ad idololatriam provocabilur, 
(jui sanguinem taurorum et caeteras Levitici victimas non plus, quam quod in 

littera sonat, piitaverit indicare ? Hroreses qiioque magis de carnali scrij). 

turffi intelligentia, quam de opere earnis nostrae, ut plurimi a3stimant, substit- 
erunt. Nee non invidiam et ebrietatem per legis litteram discimus. Jnebriatur 
Noe post diluvium, et Patriarchae apud fratrum Joseph in ^Egypto. Sed 
in commessationes in Regnorum libro scriptee sunt. - - - Multorum ergo 
malorum occasio est, si quis in scripturaj carne permaneat. Quae qui fecerent, 
regnum Dei non consequentur. Quamobrem spiritum seripturae fructusque 
quaeramus, qui non dicuntur esse manifesti. - - - Quum base nobis aperta fuc- 
rint, ralionahiUorem liabehimiis fidem, (Origen sought after a rational religion, 
I. e. one accordant with his philosophy, which he deemed to be accordant with 
reason,) et correctos mores temperantia comitabitur. De Principiis L. iv. sec. 

8, 9. p. 165.: Simpliciores nonnulli, qui se de ecelesia esse gloriantur de 

Deo suspicantur, quae ne de homine quidem crndelissimo ct injustissimo cogi- 
tare fas sit. lis autem omnibus nulla falsarum opinionum, nulla impietatis et 
stolidorum de Deo sermonum caussa esse alia videtur, quam scriptura [p. 639.] 
non secundum sensum spiritualem intellecta. Many other passages might easily 
be collected. 

Pi-op. Ill Yet the literal sense is not altogether worthless ; for to common 
people and the more ignorant, it may be of use to lead them to virtue and sal- 
vation. De Principiis L. iv. (sec. 12. p. 169.) : Exposilionem litteralem etiam 
per se utilem esse posse, testatur eorum multitudo, qui ingenue et simpliciter 
crediderunt. (sec. 14. p. 173.): Ipsum quoque spiritualium indumentum, id 
est, quod in scripturis corporeum est, in multis non est inutile, sed multos po. 
test, quantum capaces sunt, meliores elTicere. 

Prop. IV. But those who possess a little more wisdom and intelligence 
than the vulgar, ought to seek after the soul of the sacred scriptures, passing 
beyond their body or literal sense : that is, they should search for the moj-al 
sense, which accompanies the grammatical ; or, they should apply all they read 
to the mind and its moral improvement. 

Prop. V. And those who have attained to perfection, or to the highest de- 
gree of piety, should ascend higher still, and pry with all their might into the 
spirit of the sacred books, or into their spiritual and mystical sense. These two 
last precepts, and also the one preceding, are placed beyond all doubt, by the 
following passage, {De Principiis L. iv. sec. 2. ]). 168.): Tripliciter ergo dcs- 
cribere oportet in animasua unumquemque divinarum intelligentiani litterarum, 



174 Century Ill.-^Sectioii 28. 

id est, (1) ut simpllciores qiiique aedificentur ab ifso, ut ita dixerim, corpoie 
scripturarum : sic eniiu appelhimus communem istum et historialem intellec- 
tuni : (2) si qui vero aliquantuni jam proficere coeperunt, et possunt amplius ali- 
quid intueri, ab ipsa scripturcc anima aedificentur. (3) Qui vero perfecti sunt, 
ni tales ab ipsa spirituali lege, qure umbram habet futurorum bonorum, tan- 
quam a spiriiu aedificentur. These are the rules which Origen invariably fol- 
lows in his Commentaries and Homilies on the sacred books, yet extant. He 
either wholly omiis, or but slightly touches on the historical or literal sense, 
and hastens on to the moral or mystical senses almost as soon as he names the 
passages. 

Prop. VI. The moral sense of the Scriptures consists, partly, in doctrinal in- 
structions, respecting those exercises or changes in the state of the mind of which 
both good and bad men may be the subjects ; and partly in precepts, by which 
both the exterior and the interior life of a Christian man should be governed. 
Origen nowhere defines, (so far as I know,) what he means by the moral sense 
of Scripture : but the correctness of the definition above given is demonstrable 
from the numberless examples of this sense which he adduces. Thus Moses 
tells us, (Exod. i. 6, 7.) that after the death of Joseph, the Children of Israel 
multiplied exceedingly in Egypt. And to this statement Origen attaches a mo- 
ral sense, (First Homily on Exod. ^ 4. 0pp. torn. ii. p. 131.) : In te si moriatur 
Joseph, id est, si mortificationem Christi in corpore tuo suscipias et mortificea 
membra tua peccato (so in the printed copies; but I think it should read 
[p. 640.] peccaii,) tunc in te multiplicabuntur filii Israel. Filii vero Israel sensus 
bnni et spiriiuales accipiuntur. Si ergo sensus carnis mortificentur, sensus spi- 
ritus crescunt et quotidie emorientibus in te vitiis, virtutum nuraerus augetur. 
So the king of Egypt commanded the midwives to kill the Hebrew male chil- 
dren, but to let the females live. (Exod. i. 15, 16.) And, according to Origen, 
{Homil. ii. in Exod. 5 1. p. 133.) the edict of Pharaoh contained this moral 
sense: Princeps hujus mundi seu cacodaemon vult sensum rationabilem, qui 
potest coelestia sapere, necare ; quaecunque vero carnis sunt vivere, et qu?e ad 
materiara pertinent corporalera augeri. Cum ergo videris homines in voluptati- 
bus et deliciis vitam ducere, in istis scias quod rex ^Egypti masculos necat et 
vivificat foeminas. In Matt. xv. 21, 22. our Saviour is said to have gone into 
the borders of Tyre and Sidon, where a Canaanitess of that country besought 
him to heal her daughter. According to Origen (torn. xi. in Matth. § 16. 0pp. 
torn. iii. p. 503.) the moral sense of the story is this: Unusquisque nostrum 
dum peccat, versatur in finibus Tyri et Sidonis, migrans vero a vitio ad virtu- 
tem exit e finibus Tyri et Sidonis et ad fines partis Dei pervenit. Atque huic 
Christus, quemadmodum mulieri Chananacffi, occurrit quasi in partes Tyri et; 
Sidonis veniens. — These examples show that a large part of the philosopliical 
instructions, which Origen supposed to be latent in the scriptures, are contained 
in the moral sense; while others of them are contained in the mystical sense, 
which we are next to consider. 

Prop. VH. Of the mystical sense, Origen himself gives the following definition, 
(de Principiis, Lib. iv. § 13. p. 170.): Spiritalis explanatio (Trvsy^anxw J'tnyna-ts) 
est talis, si quis potest ostendero quorum coelestium exemplaribus et umbrae 



Origeiis Allegories, 175 

deserviunt hi, qui secundum carnem judaei suntet quorum futurorum umbram 
lex habet et si qua liiijusmodi in scripturis Sanctis repcriuntur, vol cum requiri- 
tur qure sit ilia sapientia in m^stcrio abscondita (1 Cor. ii. 7.) et occasionem 
nobis pra^stat intelli^a-ntia}, ut possimus advertere, quorum figurae crant istn, qua; 
illis (Judaiis) aecidcbant. A part of this definition is pers})ieuous enouii^h : he 
thinks emblems and predictions of things pertaininnr to Christ and the church 
are held up to view in the law of Moses and in the Old Testament history. 
Therefore, whoever refers to Christ, his acts and offices, and to the church, what- 
ever in the literal sense refers to the Jewish affairs, discovers and follows the 
mystical or allegorical sense. Yet a part of this definition cannot be fully 
understood by those ignorant of Origen's peculiar opinions. Thus much indeed 
every attentive reader will perceive, that what Origen calls the mystical sense 
is twofold. For he says: (1) Judaeos securidura carnem coelestium exemplari- 
bus et umbree deservire. The Greek is: Troiusv tTtovfavioiv C-KUtlyfjcari kHi [p. 641.] 
crjud 01 Kara a-apx-a loi/eTa/ot t'KaTptvav. (Heb. viii. 5.) Therefore the ceremonies of 
the law are shadows of heavenly things. He adds : (2) Legem tamen simul 
umbram futurorum habere : that is, the law is a shadow of Christ's deeds and 
of the events concerning him in this world. These two classes of things differ, 
just as the celestial and terrestrial, heavenly and earthly things differ. Again, 
he says (1) that in the scriptures a certain wisdom is hid in a mystery, as Paul 
tells us ; and (2) that what things happened to the people of the Jews, were 
figures of certain future things ; and these two classes of things also, he so 
clearly distinguishes, that they cannot be confounded. But all this is msufficient 
to make the views of Origen fully understood; and they must be more distinctly 
exhibited in the following more precise definition. 

Prop. VIII. The mystical sense of scripture is that which presents to us the 
nature, state, and history of the spiritual or mystical world. Besides this cor- 
poreal or material world, there is another, a spiritual world, beyond the reach 
of our senses; and this other world is also twofold, celestial and terrestrial; 
and the terrestrial may also be called th.e mystical world. This mystic terres- 
trial world is the church of Christ on earth, the xaivH xrtVjc. See his Comm. 
on John, (tom. ix. vol. ii. 0pp. p. 147, edit. Huetii. The recent Benedictine 
edition has not yet reached this commentary) : Mundus autem et ornamentum 
mundi est ecclesia. And, after a few words; 'Xiyio-^oo <roivZv « ^«xX«<7-ra xoV^ao?, o 
TivTTo Toy <T(OTYpos(fa)ri^iTai. Dicatur itaque ecclesia mundus, quando a Servntore 
illustratur. The other, the celestial or spiritual world, is in the upper regions; 
and it corresponds in all its parts with the lower or corporeal world. For the 
world in which we now dwell was foshioned after the model of the world 
above. See his Comm. on John, (tom. xix. vol. ii. 0pp. edit. Huetii, p. 288. 
I give the Latin only, which agrees accurately with the Greek.) : Est alius 
mundus praeter hunc visibilem et sensibilem mundum (rdv J'tiKvu/utvov nat dtv^-^rdy 
xoTfAov) constantem e ccelo et terra, vel e ccelis et terra, in quo sunt qu<c viden- 
tur: Et hoc totuin est alius mundus, inaspectabilis mundus, qui non videtur, 
mundus intelligibilis (vo<r/uoi doparos, KCiO-fAo^ Iv ^Xinofxtvos, Kai VoHTOi KO<rfACi,) cujlis 
visione et pulchritudine fruontur qui puro sunt corde, quo liujus mundi intelli- 
gibilis visioneantea bene parati penetrant vel ad ipsum Deum videndum, qua- 



176 Century IIL—Section 28. 

tonus vidcri natura potest Deus. That world beyond our ken, which we can 
ontemplate only in thought, is, as before stated, pertVctly like to this cor- 
poreal world; and of course it is divided into provinces, just as this world is. 
Therefore, as there is a terrestrinl Palestine, Jerusalem, Tyre, Sidon, Arabia, 
[p. 642.] &:c. so the upper or celestial world has similar places and provinces. 
The inhabitants of the celestial world are souls or spirits; its kings and magis- 
trates are the angels, both the good and the bad. Whatever events occur in this 
world, the same occur in the world above; and there is a perfect similitude be- 
tween these worlds. This doctrine he nowhere explains more fully than in hia 
Principia, (L. iv. $ 20, &c. p. 181, &c.) He there tirst demonstrates, as he sup- 
poses, that there is a celestial Judea, a celestial Jerusalem, a celestial Jewish 
people. Elevare quodammodo ex terra et erigere intelligentiara nostram volens 
Bunctus Apostolus ait in quodam loco : Videle Israel secundum carnem,(l Cor. 
X. 18.) Per quod signiiieat utique qut)d alius Israel sit, qui non sit secundum 
carnem, sed secundum spiritum. - - - Si ergo sunt queedam anim» in hoc mun- 
do (superiori) qua3 Israel appellautur, et in coelo ci vitas quaedam, quae Jerusa- 
lem nominatur, consequens est, ut has civitates, qua; gentis Israeliticoe esse di- 
cuntur, Metropolia liabeant Jerusalem coelestem, et secundum haec de omni 
Judasa intelligamus, de qua putamus etiam prophetas mysticis quibusdam nar- 
rationibus loquutos. - - Quajcunque ergo vel nnrrantur vel prophetantur de 
Jerui^alem - - utique de ilia civitate, quam (Paulus) dicit Jerusalem coelestem 
et de omnibus locis vel urbibus, qua3 terra; sanctte urbes esse dicuntur, — dicta 
esse intelligere debemus. Then dilating the idea, he extends it <o the whole 
earth : Si ergo prophetias, qua de Judea et Jerusalem et de Juda et Israel ct 
Jacob prophetata3 sunt, dum non a nobis carnaliter intelliguntur, mysteria quai- 
dam divina significant: consequens utique est etiam illas prophetias, qua3 vel 
de ^gypto vel de ^Egyptiis, vel de Babylonia vel de Babyloniis, et Sidone ac 
Sidoniis prolataj sunt, non de Ji^gypto ista, qua?, in terris posita est, vel Baby- 
lone vel Tyro, vel de Sidone intelligi prophetatas. - - - - Sicut coelestis est Je- 
rusalem et Judaja, et gens sine dubio qua3 habitat in ea, qufe dicitur Israel, ita 
possibile est etiam vicina his loca esse quaedam, quae vel iEgyptus, vel Baby- 
lon, vel Tyrus, vel Sidon appellari videantur, eorumque locorura principcs, at- 
que animae si quae in illis habitant locis, ^gyptii, Babylonii, Tyrii ac Sidonii 
appellantur. From this doctrine he infers, that whatever occurrences there are 
in this lower world, the same also exist in the world above ; and the strange 

vagaries he indulges on this subject will be noticed hereafter. This strange 

fiction is an exemplification of the degree in which Origen could accommodate 
his theology to his philosophy. For, allhough he would persuade his readers 
that he derived the doctrine of a twofold world, celestial and terrestrial, from 
Paul's writings, (e. g. 1 Cor. x. 18. Rom. ii. 28, 29. Gal. iv. 26. Heb. xii. 22, 
&c.) ; yet it is manifest that this doctrine is nothing more nor less than the 
opinion of Plato and the Plalonists, respecting the eternal procession of the 
[p. 643.] images and patterns of all things from the divine intelligence, and of 
the formation of this visible world after the similitude of these so-called ideas. 
Captivated with this philosophy, his prolific fancy led him to amplify this doc- 
trine, and apply it to the holy scriptures. Those acquainted with Platonism 



Orlgetis Allegories. 177 

know, tliat the Platonic school, professedly following tiieir master, maintained 
that from all eternity there issued forth from the divine intelligence the images 
of all things ; — that these images were substantial beings, immutable in their 
nature, and distinct from the divine mind from which they issued ; — that God 
looked on these eternal ideas while forming tiiis corporeal world, just as a pain- 
ter keeps his eyes constantly fixed on the objects he would represent in colors; 
— that therefore all corporeal and finite things are but copies of those eternal 
images; — that all truth and science reside in these images or ideas; that minds 
wrapped up in matter discover only the obscure shadows of them. ; — but yet, 
by reliection and study, they may gradually become able to look upon and 
contemplate the eternal ideas themselves ; and this Plato supposed to be the 
perfection of alL knowledge. All these notions Origen adopted as his own; 
and hence that fantastic dream of the resemblance of this world to the world 
above, and of the creation of the former after the pattern of the latter. 
But I do not know that any of the Platonists went so far as to declare, that all 
the things which occur among men, occur also in the heavenly world ; that 
souls there live as men do on earth ; that in heaven angels are rulers, and carry 
on wars, just as kings and princes do here below. At any rate this is clear, 
that Origen by holding these opinions was obliged to assert, that whatever 
the sacred books narrate respecting the countries, the nations, the kings, and 
the occurrences of this world, must be equally true of the heavenly world ; so 
that the history of our world is also the history of the celestial world and of its 
inhabitants. And this he most distinctly asserts in his Principia, (L. iv. § 23. 
p. 186.) : Unde consequens videbitur, etiam prophetias, qua) de singulis genti- 
bus proferuntur, revocari magls ad animas debere, (because the celestial world 
is more excellent and noble than this our corporeal world,) et diversas mansi- 
ones earum coelestes. Sed et historias rerum gestarum, quae dicuntur vel genti 

Israel, vel Jerusalem, vel Judajae accidisse, magis ista conveniebant illis 

gentibus animarum, quae in coelo isto, quod transire dicitur, habitant, vel 
etiara nunc habitare putanda3 sunt. In his eleventh Homily on Numbers, (^ 4, Opp. 
tom. ii. p. 307.) he says : Puto, quia sicut quajdam nomina vel gentium vel prin- 
cipum in Scripturis posita videmus, quae absque uUa dubitatione ad malos an- 
gelos et ad virtutes contrarias referantur : ita etiam ea, quae de Sanctis viris 
et gente religiosa scribuntur, ad sanctos Angelos et ad benignas de- [p. 644.] 
beraus referre virtutes. 

Prop. IX. As there is a twofold mystical world, the one here below, the 
church, and the other above, the examplar after which this material and corpo- 
real world was created ; so there is also a tioofold mystical sense of scripture, 
the one relating to the church, and the other to the celestial world. That which 
relates to the kingdom of Christ, or the church, is called the allegorical sense ; 
that which relates to the celestial world may be called the anagogical sense. 
Yet Origen does not always understand by the allegorical sense, that sense of 
the Bible which exhibits the transactions of Christ and his ambassadors in 
this lower world ; he sometimes uses the term in a broader accepation ; but 
still, of the great number of examples of the allegorical sense contained in his 
writings, most of the specimens we have adduced serve to illustrate the defini- 
tion we have given. 13 



178 Century Ill.—Section 28. 

Proji. X. The mystical sense pervades the entire scriptures ; so that there 
is not a declaration, in the inspired books, in which there is not something latent 
that refers either to the church of Jesus Christ, or to the celestial world. See 
his first Homily on Exocl. {\ 4. Opp. torn. ii. p. 131.) : Ego credens verbis Do- 
mini mei Jesu Christi in lege et pruphetis icta qnidem unum aut unum apicem 
non puto esse mysteriis vacuum, nee puto aliquid horum transire posse, nisi 
omnia iiant. He frequently inculcates this idea in various forms; and he ex- 
tends it, not only to the Old Testament, but also to the New, which is of equal 
excellence and worth with the Old. See Priiicipia L. vi. § 14, &c. (p. 171, 172.) 
In a passage § 16. (p. 174,) he most explicitly declares the New Testament to 
be equally spiritual and mystical with the Old Testament : Non solum autem 
de his, qua) usque ad adventum Christi scripta sunt, ha3c Spiritus sanctus pro- 
curavit, sed utpote unus atque idem spiritus et ab uno Deo procedens, eadem 
similiter etiam in Evangelistis et Apostolis fecit. Nam ne illas quidem narra- 
tiones, quas per eos inspiravit absque hujuscemodi, quam supra exposuimus sa- 
pientise suae arte contexuit. Hence, in his eleventh Homily on Num. ^ 1. (Opp. 
tom. ii. p. 305.) he thus expresses himself: Requiro, si sunt aliquce (in scriptura 
eacra) quae et secundum litteram quidem stare possint, necessario tamen in eis 
etiam allegoriam (here he used the word allegoria in the broader sense) requi- 
rendam. And a little after : Alia habent quidem secundum litteram veritatera 
sui, recipiunt tamen utiliter et necessorio etiam allegorieum sensura. — It is there- 
fore beyond all controversy, that those learned men err, who say that Origen be- 
lieved many passages of the Bible to have no other than the literal sense : hia 
opinion was quite otherwise. Nor must we assent to Charles de la Rue, and 
to the learned men whom he follows, in saying, {Orig. Opp. tom, ii. Praef. p. 11.) : 
[p. 645.] " Sometimes only the literal sense is admissible, sometimes only 
the moral sense, and sometimes only the mystical." The man cannot have 
read Origen with due attention who can entertain such an opinion. 

Prop. XL Yet hoth the mystical senses are not found in all passages : some 
have only the allegorical sense, and some only the anagogical. That such was 
Origen's opinion his expositions clearly show ; for from many passages of scrip- 
ture explained by him, he deduces only a meaning applicable to the church of 
Christ on earth ; but sometimes he rises to the celestial or upper world. 

Prop. XII. In like manner the moral sense pervades the whole inspired 
volume ; nor is there a single passage in which we have not some precept for 
regulating the mind and directing the conduct. 

Prop. Xin. It is not so with the grammatical or historical sense. For 
there are many passages of the Bible in vvhich the words are destitute of all 
literal meaning. Of his many declarations to this effect this one may sullice, 

de Principiis, L. iv. § 12. (Opp. torn. i. p. 169.) 'Eisr/ rtvegypaipal rd a-cjjua~i)idv ovfa- 
ucjg i^cutrai eTtv ottov oiovil r»v -^v^iiv Kai to -rviv/ua tUs y[>a<p»? /miva ^pyi ^UTilv 

Sunt scripturse quaedam, quae nihil habent corporeum (i. e. no literal meaning): 
e.st ubi sola veluti anima (a moral sense,) et spiritus (a mystical sense) quae- 
rendus est. 

Prop. XIV. Therefore all declarations of scripture are of tuw kinds; some 
have only two senses, a moral and a mystical, the latter either allegorical or 



Or iff ens Allcr/orie^. 179 

analogical ; others have three senses, a grammatical or liter:'.l, a moral, and 
a mystical. But there is no passage whatever that has only uiie single mean- 
ing. In hh Frincipia L. iv. sec. 12. (p. 169, &c.) Origen demonstrates this 
principle by a pas>age in John's Gospel (eh ii. 6.) ; presenting us at the same 
time with a specimen of allegorical interpretation. John tells us, that at the 
marriage in Cana, there were six water })ots, set for the Jewish purification, 
containing two or three firkins e:.ch ; and Origen gives this mystical interpre- 
tation of the passage: Quibns sub involucro designatur eos, (jui apud Aposto- 
lum in occulto Judaei sunt, (Rom. ii.) purificari per scripturas, aliquando binas 
metretas capientes, id est, ut sic dicam, animam (the moral sense) et spirituni 
(the mystical sense): aliquando terras (trinas?) quum nonnulhe propter prie- 
dicta, (i. e. the moral and mystical; which are always present,) habeant etiam 
corpus (the literal sense) quod aedificare potest. 

Prop. XV. The literal sense is obvious to all attentive readers. To discover 
the moral sense, some more intelligence is requisite ; and yet it is not very re- 
condite and difiicult. 

Prop. XVI. But the mystical sense, none but wise men, and such as are di- 
vinely instructed, can with certainty discover. Origen, agreeably to the custom 
of that age, considered the ability to interpret the holy scriptures mystically, to 
be one of those extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit which are conferred on 
but few Christians. And as he, from modesty, dared not lay claim to that gift, 
he generally brings forward his mystical expositions with diflidence [p. 646.] 
and caution : and sometimes he tells us, that he conjectures or supposes, rather 
than decides and pronounces confidently. In his fftk Homily on Levit. sec. 1. 
(0pp. tom. ii. p.. 205.) he says: Sicut cognationem sui ad invicem gerunt visibila 
et invisibilia, terra et ca3lum,anlma et caro, corpus et spiritus, ct ex horum con- 
junctionibus constat hie mundus; ita etiam sanctam Scripturam credendum est ex 
invisibilibus et visibilibus constare : veluti (1) ex corpore quodam, litterse scilicet, 
qua3 videtur: et (2) animd, sensus intra ipsam deprehenditur ; et (3) spiritu. 
secundum id quod quaidam etiam in se coelestia teneat; ut Apostolus, quia ex- 
emplari et umbrce deserviunt coelestium. This passage, though not much con- 
nected with the point we are considering, I have thought fit to transcribe, be- 
cause it not only exhibits clearly and distinctly his doctrine of a threefold sense 
of scripture, but it also shows, that he believed he had a philosophical reason 
for holding that doctrine, derived from the analogy of things. We will now 
accompany him as he proceeds ; Quia ergo ha3c ita se hiifbent, invocantes De- 
um, qui fecit scriptur.u animam et corpus et spiritum : corpus quidem iis, qui 
ante nos fuerunt, animam vero nobis, spiritum autem iis, qui in futuro ha?redi- 
tatem vitae aeternae consequentur, per quam, (T think it should read per quem^ 
i. e. spiritum) perveniant ad regna coelestia ; earn nunc quara diximus legis ani- 
mam requiramus, quantum ad pracsens interim spectat. Aescio autem si possio- 
mus eliam ad spiritum ejus ascendere in his, quoe nobis de sacrificiis lecta sunt. 
This passage is very noticeable ; b( cause from it we learn, that Origen believ- 
ed, (1) That a largi^ portion at le.ist of the ceremonial laws of Moses contained 
a /t7e7-aZ meaning, pertaining, however, exclusively to the Jews ; in which he was 
correct ; (2) That in addition to this meaning, there was also in the Mosaic 



180 Centiinj III.— Section 28. 

laws a Trioral sense, and that this sense is discoverable by all Christian teachers 
if they will give th'^ir attention to it: (3) But the mystical sense of these laws 
is not equally discoverable by all, but only by those who are chosen unto life 
eternal and are divinely illuminated. Therefore (4) he doubts, whether he was 
qualified to investigate this abstruse sense of scripture. After several other 
things which are not to our purpose, when he would exhibit the mystical import 
of certain things pertaining to the laws concerning sacrifices, he again acknow- 
ledges, explicitly, that without the Holy Spirit, he could effect nothing. He 
says, (sec. 5. p. 209.) Quia potius, secundum spiritalem sensum, quern 
Spiritus donai ecclesicB, videamus, quod sit istud sacrificium, quod coquatur 
in clibano. vel quis iste clibanus intcUigi debeaf? Sed ubi inveniam? - - Do- 
minum meum Jesum invocare me oportet, ut quaerentem me faciat invenire, et 
[p. 647.] pulsanti aperiat, ut inveniam in scripturis clibanum,ubi possum coquere 
sacrificiummeum,utsuscipiat illud Deus. Thus he discourses with sutHcien.t acu- 
men and subtilty respecting this furnace. Yet, see how timidly and modestly he 
closes the discourse: Non dubito multa esse, quae nos Meant et sensum nos- 
trum superent. Non enim sumus illius meriti, ut et nos dicere possimus: 
Nos autem sensum Christi hahemus. (1 Cor. ii. 16.) Ipse enim solus estsensus, 
cui pateant universa, quae in legibus sacrificiorum intra litterae continentur ar- 
canum. Si enim mererer, ut daretur mihi sensus Christi, etiam ego in his dice- 
rem: Utsciamus qucc a deo donata sunt nobis, qucc et loquimur. (1 Cor. ii. 12.) 
Similar passages abound in all his expository works on the sacred books. On 
the moral sense which he elicits, he is sufficiently positive ; but his mystical 
interpretations, he obtrudes upon no one, always professing to be a learner, and 
ready to be taught better views by any one whom the Holy Spirit may enlighten. 
Pro-p. XVII. Although a man may be divinely endued with the gift of in- 
terpreting the scriptures mystically, yet it will be presumption and folly for him 
to expect to understand all the arcane senses of the sacred volume. For the 
scriptures contain an immense treasury of divine truths, only a small part of 
which can be grasped by minds enclosed in material bodies. Even the Apos- 
tles of Jesus Christ were not able to understand all the mysteries of the sacred 
books. Origen discourses on this point, referring equally to the Old Testa- 
ment and the New, in his Principia, L. iv. sec. 10. &.c. He says: Evangelio- 
rum accuratus sensus, utpote Christi sensus, eget gratia. - - Apostolorum au- 
tem epistolae cuinam sagaci et perito sermonum judici videantur apertae ac intel- 
lectu faciles, cum illic infinita prope sint, quae veluti per foramen maxima et 
quamplurima intelligendi materiam amplam praebeant 1 Quae cum ita se habe- 
ant et prope innumeri labantur, non sine periculo quis pronunciaverit, se legen- 
do intelligere, quae indigent clavi inlelligentiae, quam Salvator penes legispcri- 
tos esse ait. Passing over many other remarks, we will cite from sec. 26. p. 188. 
the passages in which he the most clearly expresses his views : Si quis cu- 
riosus explanationem singulorum requirat, veniat et nobiscum pariter audiat, 
quomodo Paulus Apostolus per Spiritum sanctum - - altitudinem divinae sapi- 
entiae ac scientiae scrutans, nee tamen ad finem, et, ut ita dixerim, ad intimam 
cognitionem praevalens pervenire, desperatione rei et stupore clamat et dicit. 
O altitude divitiarum sapientiae et scientiae Dei. (Rom. xi. 33.) If this text 



Or iff en'' s Allegories. 181 

appears to us irrelevant to the subject, it should be remembered, that Origcn 
supposed Paul usually designates tlie myUical sense of scripture by the terms 
wisdom and knowledge. Quantumcunque enim quis in scrutando promoveat et 
studio intentiore profieiat, gratia qiioque Dei adjutus, sensusque [p. 648.] 
illuminatus, ad perfectum finem eorum, quae requiruntur, pervenire non poterit 
nee omnis raeus quae creata est, possibile habet uUo genere comprehendere 
sed ut iiivenerit quaedam ex his quae quaeruntur, iterum videt alia, qune 
qiKU'renda sunt. Quod elsi ad ipsa pervenerit, multo iterum plura ex illis, 
quae requiri debeant, pervideliit. 

Prop. XVIII. Both diflidence and discretion are highly necessary, in 
searching after that mystical sense of scripture which relates to the celestial or 
upper world, or in applying what the scriptures relate of the people and the af- 
fairs of this world, to the inhabitants of the world above. Because this, the 
anagogical sense, God has very obscurely set forth in the sacred books, rather 
covering it up and concealing it than actually revealing it. In his Princijpia^ 
(L. iv. sec. 23. p. 186,) he says : Si quis vero evidentes et satis manifestas as- 
sertiones horum de Scripturis Sanctis exposcat a nobis, respondendum est, quia 
occultare magis haec Spiritui sancto in his quae videntur esse historiae rerum 
gestarum, et altius tegere consilium fuit, in quibus descendere dicuntur in 
iEgyptum, vel captivari in Babyloniam, vel in his ipsis regionibus, quidam qui- 

dem humilinri nimis et sub servitio effici dominorum, quae omnia, ut dixi- 

mus, abscondita et celata in Scripturae sanctae historiis conteguntur, quia reg- 
num coelorum simile est thesauro abscondito in agro. — Hi thesauri ut inveniri 
possint, Dei adjutorio opus esi, qui solus potest portas aereas, quibus clausi sunt 
et absconditi, confringere et seras ferreas comminuere, quibus prohibetur 
ingressus perveniendi ad ea omnia, quae in Genesi dediversis animarumgeneri- 
busseripta sunt et obtecta, &c. The passage is too long to be here transcribed. 

I now proceed to the second part of Origen's doctrine of allegories. — As he 
maintained that the words of many passages of the Bible are altogether void of 
direct meaning, it became necessary for him to establish some rules for deter- 
mining what passages of scripture have a direct or literal meaning, and what 
passages are destitute of such meaning, or have only a mystical and a moral 
sense. His first and most general rule is: 

Rule 1. When the words of any passage in either Testament afford a good 
sense, one worthy of God, useful to men, and accordant with truth and sound 
reason, — this must be considered a sure sign that the passage is to be taken in 
its literal and proper sense. But whenever any thing absurd, folse, contrary to 
sound reason, useless, or unworthy of God, will follow from a literal interpreta- 
tation, then that interpretation is to he abandoned, and only moral and mystical 
senses are to be sought for. This rule, Origen repeatedly attempts to confirm 
by the declaration of St. Paul, (2 Cor. iii. 6.) For (he letter killeth, but the spi- 
rit givelh life. See his work against Cehus, Lib. vii. (sec, 20, 21. edit. Bene- 
dict.) By the letter in this text, Origen would have us understand the literal 
sense, and by the spirit, the moral and mystical sense ; thus making the [p. 649.1 
import of the passage to be, that the literal sense of scripture often disturbs the 
human mind, and brings it into great difficulties; but the moral and mystical 



182 Century Ill—Section 28. 

seriFes refresh the mind, and fill it with faith, liopc, joy, and love to God and 
man. This general rule of Origen may therefore be thus expressed : When- 
ever the letter of holy scripture killelh, or disturbs the mind; then, disregarding 
the letter, a man should attend solely to the spirit, v^'hich gixelh life. — In a gene- 
ral view, this rule appears not wholly unreasonable; for the wisest interpreters 
at the present day, both take the liberty, and also allow others, to give up the 
literal meaning of a passnge, and to resort to a metaphorical, or, if you please, a 
mystical sense, whenever the language taken literally would give a sense clearly 
repugnant to reason, or contrary to plain passages of holy scripture. Yet be- 
tween these expositors and Origen, there was a very wide difference ; as the 
statement of his other rules will show. 

Rule II. Consequently, that portion of sacred history, both in the Old Tes- 
tament and the New, which narrates things probable, consonant to reason, 
commendable, honest, and useful, must be supposed to state f:icts, and of course 
must be understood literally. But that portion of sacred history which states 
actions or events that are either false, or absurd, or unbecoming in God and 
holy men, or useless and puerile, must be divested of all literal meaning, and be 
applied to moral and mystical things in both the spiritual worlds, Origen, for 
reasons hereafter stated, assumed it as certain, that the biblical history of both 
Testaments contained many f:ilse statements, statements of things that never 
did, and never could, take place. And he gives two reasons why God intermin- 
gled many fables with the true history in the Bible. T\\q first is, that if people 
found nothing in the Bible but what is true, probable, beautiful and useful, they 
would never think of going beyond the literal meaning of the Bible, and thus 
would entirely neglect the soul and the spirit of it. But now, as they meet 
with things altogether incredible and absurd, these ver}^ impediments and stum- 
bling blocks prompt them to search for the sublimer meaning. In his Principia 
L. ix. sec. 15. p. 173. (as transfated by Charles de la Rne; for the ancient trans- 
lation of Rufjinus is quite too free.) Origen thus expresses himself: Verum 
quoniam si legis utilitas et varietate oblectans historine series ubique sese pro- 
derct, non utique credidissemus aliud quiddam praeter id, quod obvium est, in 
scripturis intelligi posse, idcirco Dei verbum in lege ac liistoria interponi cura- 
vit ofiendicula et impossibilia quaedam, ne dictione nihil praeter illecebram ha- 
benti deliniti, et nihil Deo dignum addiscentes, tandem a dogmatis recedamus, 
dut nudiie literae penitus adhaerentes nihil divinius percipiamus. So then, if 
[p. 650.] we may believe Origen, when God caused the sacred books to be 
written, fearing lest the travellers should be so captivated with the beauty aiid 
comfort of a direct and smooth road, as to forget whither they were travellings 
he placed in their path, here and there rocks, ditches, hills, and other obstruc- 
tions, which should oblige them to swerve and deviate from the straight for- 
ward course. — His second reason is, that God wished to instruct men in all tho 
doctrines and precepts necessary for their salvation, by means of sacred history. 
But this object could not always be effected by true history ; and therefore, 
with the true, he interspersed here and there the fiilse and f/ibulous, that men 
might learn what he wished them to know, by means of fictitious and imaginary 
examples. He says: Oportet autem et istud scire: cum eo praecipue speclet 



Orif/ens Allegories. 183 

Dei vorbum, ut in rebus spiritalibus et gcstij4 et gercndis scriem declaret: ubi 
si'cuiidiim historiain iiivonit facta, qiuc arcauis istis aceommodaii possent, illin 
usus est, muliis oceultans abstru.siorein sensum ; ubi vero in explananda ilia 
fipiritalium connexionc non sequebatur certarum quarundam rerum praxis, quce 
propter arcaniora ante scripta fiierit, scriplurae subnexuit historice quod iactuin 
non erat, imo aliquando quod tieri non poterut, quandoque autem quod poterat 
quidi-m fieri, sed factum tamen non est. Accidit etiani aliquando, ut paucae 
inlerjectae sint dictiones veritati, si ad corpus .spcctes non consentanse- The 
closing part of this passage shows, that Origen believed — (1) That many por- 
tions of the sacred history are mere fables : and that these fables are of two 
kinds; some have no semblance of truih,but are such fictions as could not have 
been facts; others have a verisimilitude, and might have been facts, yet were 
not so in reality. (2) Some portions of the sacred history arc in the main 
true ; yet among the things stated, there are some things inserted which are not 
true but fictitious. By the aid of this rule, Origen easily surmounts all difficul- 
ties in the historical parts of both Testaments. Whenever any fact occurs, 
which either conflicts with the principles of his philosophy, or seems to aftbrd 
the enemies of Christianity a ground for cavilling, he boldly denies the fact, and 
converts i: into either a moral or a mystical fable. All his Homilies and com- 
mentaries alford us examples: we will cite only one of them, from his Princi- 
pia (L. iv. sec. 16. p. 174.) Quis sanas mentis existimaverit primam et secun- 
dam et tertiam diem et vesperam et mane sine sole, luna et stellis, et eam quae 
veluti prima erat, diem sine coelo fuisse? Quis adeo stolidus ut putet, Deum 
more hominis agricolee plantasse hortum in Eden ad orientcm, ubi lignum vitae 
posuerit, quod sub occulos et sensus caderet, ut qui corporeis dentibus fructum 
gustasset, vitam inde reciperet, et rursus boni et mali particeps fieret, qui fruc- 
tum ex hac arbore decerptum comedissef? Et cum Deus meridie in paradise 
ambulare dicitur, et Adam sub arbore delitescere. neminem arbitror [p. 651.] 
dubitare his figurate per apparentem historiam, qua? taa3en corporaliter non 
contigerit, qua3dam indicari mysteria. -- Sed quid attinet plura dicere, cum innu- 
mera ejustnodi scripta quidem tanquam gesta sint, non gesta vero, ut littera 
fionat, quivis, modo non plane stipes, colligere possit. Respecting the New 
Testament history, he decides with equal assurance, discarding all the caution 
and reserve which he elsewhere rarely neglects. A large part of it he considers 
to be fables, by which the holy Spirit aims to instruct us in recondite mysteries. 
He says explicitly : Sexcenta ejus generis in evangeliis observare licet attentius 
Icgenti, unde colliget lis, quae secundum literam gesta sunt, alia adtexti esse, 
quae non contigerint. In his comment, on John, (torn. x. Opp. tom. ii. p. 150. 
edit: Huetiante,) he openly acknowledges, that the whole history of the four 
Gospels is full of statements, either false, or contradictory to each other; and 
that there is no way left to defend the authority and the divine origin of these 
books, but by a recurrence to what he calls ava^a^wv. Atl t>)v Tripi to-jtuv dXit^-itxti 
dwoKila^-ai iv rois vo»Toti. Veritatem harum rerum oportet repositam esse in 
his, quae animo cernuntur. He had just spoken of the forty days' conflict of 
Christ with the prince of hell, and he said : AeT t»v J'oKouTav S'lapufiiav \utT^at 
J'la T«j dvayai-yiis. Decet nos apparentem dissonantiam dissulvere per Anagogen; 



184 Century IIL—Section 28. 

i. e. by a mystical interpretation. I have already touelied upon the causes 
which led liim to adopt this very dangerous rule for interpreting sacred history. 
They are obvious to every attentive reader. The statements of the Bible res- 
pecting the creation of the world, the origin of man, &c. were contrary to the 
precepts of his philosophy ; and, therefore, he would sooner deny the truth of a 
portion of sacred Jiistory, than give up his philosophy. Again, by the history 
of the Old Testament, the Gnostics endeavored to establish their doctrine, that 
the Creator of this world was a different being from the Father of Jesus Christ; 
and from the history in both Testaments, the philosophers drew arguments 
against Christianity ; and Origen, not finding any other way to answer them, 
concluded to cut the knot he could not untie, by turning all the passages which 
his adversaries could use, into allegories. 

Rule HI. To the preceptive and didactic parts of scripture, the same princi- 
ple is to be applied, as to the historical: namely, whatever occurs in them that 
is good, agreeable to reason, useful, and worthy of God, must, beyond all ques- 
tion, be construed literally. But wliatever is absurd, useless, and unworthy of 
God, must not be taken literally; but must be referred to morals and to the 
mystical world. Origen believed, that the preceptive and didactic parts of the 
Bible contained some things, which, if taken literally, it was impossible to be- 
lieve or to practice, and which were contradictory to sound reason and philoso- 
[p. 652.] phy. That he explained a number of the Christian doctrines philo- 
sophically, is well known, and has been already stated. And such an exi>lana- 
tion required him to maintain, that the passages thus explained have no literal 
meaning. Numerous examples for illustration, occur in his writings. We 
therefore will only remark briefly on the preceptive parts of the Bible. Res. 
pecting the laws of Moses, he utters himself very harshly, and in fact extrava- 
gantly, and almost impiously. In his seventh Homily on Levit. sec. 6. (0pp. 
tom. ii, p. 226.) he says : Si adsideamus literse et secundum hoc vel quod Ju- 
daeis, vel id quod vulgo videtur, accipiamus qu^ in lege scripta sunt, eruhesco 
dicere et confUeri, quia tales leges dederit Dens. Videbuntur enim magis elegan- 
tes st rationabiles hominum leges, verbi gratia, vel Romanorura, vel Athenien- 
sium, vel Lacedtemoniorum. Si vero secundum hanc intelligentiam, quam do- 
cet ecclesia, accipiatur Dei lex, tunc plane omnes humanas supereminet leges, 
et vere Dei lex, esse credetur. De Principiis, L. iv. (sec. 17. p. 176.): Si ad 
leges etiam Mosaicas veniamus, plurimae si eas nude observari oporteat, absar- 
dum, aliae imj^ossibile prsecipiunt. And this he endeavors to demonstrate by 
several examples, which we here omit. Respecting his mode of explaining 
the Mosaic laws, we shall presently speak particularly. The laws of the New 
Testament, he supposed indeed to be superior to those in the Old Testament, 
seeing they do not prescribe any rites and ceremonies ; yet he supposed that 
many of these laws must be construed mystically and allegorically. Of this we 
have evidence in his Principia, L. iv. (sec. 18. p. 179.) where he says: Jam 
vero si ad Evangelium veniamus et similia requiramus, quid a ratione mngis ali, 
enum, quam istud ; Neminem per xiam saluiaveritis, (Lu. x. 4.) quod Ajiostolis 
prsecepisse Salvatorem, simpliciores existimant? Et cum dextera maxilla per- 
cuti dicitur, res est a verisimili prorsus abhorrens, cum omnis qui percutit, nisi 



Origeii's Allegories, 185 

natura nianciis fuerit, dcxtora manii sinistram maxillam foriat. Ncque potest ex 
Evangelio peiripi quo paeto dexter oeeulus oiVensioni sit. After ex])lainino- 
these things at some length, lie proceeds: Pra3terca Apostolus praeeipit, dicens; 
Circumcisus aliquis vocaliis est? noii adducal fnc/pulium. (1 Cor. vii. 18.) Pri- 
muin, quilibet iiaec abs re prajterque propositum dicere Apostolum videbit. 
Nam quoDiodo de nuptiis et de castitate praecipiens, non videatur haec temere 
interposu isse ? Secundo vero, quid obesset, si obscoenitatis vitandae caussa 
ejus, quae ex circumcisione est, posset aliquis revocare praeputium ? Tertio, 
quod certe fieri id omni genere impossibile est. Haec a nobis dicta sunt, ut 
ostendamus, quia hie prospectus est Spiritus sanctus - - non ut ex sola littera 
vel in omnibus ex ea aedificari possimus. 

Ride IV. As to the Mosaic laws in particular, there are indeed many o£ 
them which have a literal meaning; and therefore are to be considered as direct 
rules for human life and conduct. But there are many others, the words of 
which convey no meaning whatever, and only the things indicated by [p. 653.] 
the words are of use to awaken moral and mystical thoughts in our minds. I 
will adduce some examples of both these classes of laws, in Origen's own words. 
Of the former class he speaks in liis Principia, L. iv. {\ 19. p. 180.) ; Quis non 
afhrmet mandatum hoc, quod praicipit : Honora patrem tuum, et mairem tuam^ 
etiam sine ulla spiritale interpretatione sufficere, et esse observantibus necessa- 
rium ? maxime cum et Paulus iisdem verbis repetens, confirmaverit ipsum man- 
datum. Quid attinet dicere de ceteris : Non adulterabis, non occides, t^c. Rur- 
sus in Evangelio mandata quasdam scripta sunt, de quibus non quteritur sintne 
ad litteram observanda, uecne?— But it is not true as some learned men have 
believed, and among them Charles de la Rue, the editor of Origen, — that Origen 
excluded a mystical sense from those laws of Moses which he believed were to 
be obeyed in their literal interpretation. A little after the quotation just given, 
he adds those expressive words : Tametsi qui res altius scrutantur componere 
possint altitudinem sapientise Dei cum litterali mandatorum sensu. A moral alle- 
gory he could not indeed seek for in such laws; because their literal interpre- 
tation afforded a moral sense. But a mystical sense, as already observed, he 
would attach to every particle of the holy scriptures. — Of the latter class of 
laws we have examples in the same work, Q 17. p. 176, &c.) as follows: In 
lege Moysi praecipitur exterminari quidem omne masculum, quod non fuerit oc- 
tava die circumcisum : quod valde inconsequens est: cum oporteret utique, 
si lex secundum litteram servanda tradebatur, juberi, ut parentes punirentur, qui 
filios suos non circumciderunt. - - - Haec verba : Sedebitis domi xestrcc singuli, 
nemo vestrum exeat e loco suo die septima, (Exod. xvi. 29.) non videntur ad lit- 
teram posse servari, cum nullum animae per totum diem immotum sedere 
queat. 

Rule V. To determine what parts of the Mosaic law are to be understood 
literally, and what parts have no literal meaning, the following rule must 
be our guide ; Whatever in the writings of Moses is called a law, admits of no 
literal interpretation; but whatever is denominated a commandment, a precept, a 
statute, a testimony, or a judgment, has a literal meaning which should not be 
disregarded. Many passages bearing these latter titles, in addition to their lite- 



186 Century Ill.—Sectlon 28. 

ral meaning, liave also a moral sense, or are moral allegories. — This rule, so 
sublle, so obscure, and so difficult of application, Origen explains and inculcates 
at much length in his eleventh HumUy on Numb. \ 1. (0pp. torn. ii. p. 304.) To 
show how a law differs from commandments, precepts, testimonies, and judg- 
ments, he aays : " A law has a shadow of things to come : but not so a com- 
mandment, or a statute, or a judgment; of which it is never written that they 
must be regarded as shadows of things to come; e. g., it is not written: This 
[p. 654.] is the commandment of the passover, but this is the law of the passover. 
And, because a law is a shadow of good things to come, the law of the pass- 
over is doubtless a shadow of good things to come : and, of course, its words 
have no direct meaning." - - "Of circumcision it is written: This is the law 
of circumcision. Hence I inquire, Of what good things to come is circum- 
cision the shadow." - - - " But wiien it is said : Thou shall not kill ; thou shall 
not commit adultery ; thou shall not steal, and the like ; you do not find the title 
of laws prefixed, for these are rather commandments: and thus that scripture 
is not made void among the disciples of the Gospel - - because not a com- 
mandment, but the laic, is .said to have a shadoio of things to come. And a little 
after, (in § 2. p. 305.) he says: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. 
(Gal. iii. IS.) ; he did not redeem us from the curse of the command?nent, nor 
from the curse of the testimony, nor from the curse o{ judgments, but lium the 
curse of the law; that is, that we might not be subject to circumcision in the 
flesh, nor to the observance of sabbaths, and other like things, which are not 
contained in commandments, but are to be considered as in the law.''^ By the 
law, in its stricter sense, Origen would have us understand the ceremonial 
law. Hence the import of his rule is, that the cerejnonial law should be inter- 
preted mystically, and not literally ; but the moral law is to be first taken lite- 
rally, before we proceed to any higher sense of it. Under the moral law, he 
also includes the civil or judicial code of the Jews; as many examples in his 
Homilies demonstrate. And yet Origen does not uniformly follow this rule. 
For he sometimes turns into allegories certain portions of the civil law ; pre- 
cepts which the heretics, and perhaps Origen himself, deemed too harsh, or 
which he could not explain satisfactorily. And, on the other hand, some of the 
ceremonial laws he forbids being construed only mystically. For instance, he 
enjoins on Christians the law of first fruits and of tithes. Thus, in his eleventh 
Homily on Numb. (^ 1. p. 303.) : Hanc legem observari etiam secundum litte- 
ram, sicut et alia nonnulla (among the Jewish rites and institutions,) necessa- 
rium puto. Sunt enim aliquanta legis mandata (note — in the style of Origen, 
the law means the ceremonial law.) qu£e etiam novi testamenti discipuli neces- 
saria observatione custodiunt. 

Rule VI. Although the ceremonial part of the ]\fosaic law has now only a 
mystical interpretation, or is not to be construed literally, yet we are not to un- 
derstand that it always has been so. There are indeed some things in this part 
of the law which never had any literal meaning ; but there are many other 
things, which, so long as the Jewish commonwealth existed, had a literal mean- 
ing for that people, and were to be observed by them accordingly. Since 
Christ's advent, however, the whole have lost their literal sense, and are either 



Origeiis AUegorles. 187 

to be construed as mornl alleg-ories, or to be referred to the two mystical worlds. 
All the learned men who have hitherto attempted to explain Origcn's [p. 655.] 
system of interpretation, have judged that he considered the whole cero- 
mouial law as purely mystical, and having no literal meaning. Thus Charlea 
de la Rue, in his preface to Origcn's works, (torn. ii. p. 14.) says, that " Each 
and every passage of scripture, which in any manner belonged to the ceremo- 
nial law, with no exception, had not a literal, but only a mystical sense." The 
falsehood of this assertion we have already shown: Origen did make exceptions. 
But I do not wonder that learned men should fall into this mistake. For, not 
being careful to make distinctions, and sometimes confounding things altoge- 
ther ditlerent, Origen frequently talks as if he held such an opinion. But if we 
compare all his expositions, and carefully mark his expressions, it will be mani- 
fest, I think, that he could not have been so demented and destitute of common 
sense, as to suppose that all the ordinances of Moses respecting the tabernacle, 
sacrifices, the high priest, and other priests and Levites, and numerous other 
things, ought to have been mystically understood by the Jews; and that of 
course the ichole Levilical worship was founded on a false exposition of the Mo- 
saic law. It is indeed true, that he believed some of the ceremonial laws to be 
without meaning ; and he accused the Jews of manifesting gross ignorance by 
scrupulously obeying them. Some examples have already been adduced, and 
more might easily be added. In his third Homily on Levit. {\ 3. 0pp. torn. ii. 
p. 194.) he says, that the Jews very unsuitably and uselessly observed (inde- 
center satis et inutiliter observare) that law, which forbids touching a dead 
body or any unclean tiling ; and he maintains, that this law should be under- 
stood mystically. The same thing he repents at large in his seventh Homihj. 
And again in the third Homily on Levit. explaining that law (Levit. v. 15, 16.) 
which requires, in case of involuntary trespass, the offering of a ram, estimated 
by the shekel of the sanctuary, he says: Quod aperte secundum litteram qui- 
dem videtur absurdum, secundum spiritalem vero intelligentiam certum est, 
quod remissionera peccatorum nullus accipiat, nisi detulerit integram, probam 
et snnctara fidem, per quam mereari possit arietem (Jesum Christum.) In his 
fifth Homily, Q 5. p. 209.) after citing the law in Levit. vii. 9 : " And all the 
meat-offering that is baked in the oven, and all that is dressed in the frying- 
pan, and in the pan, shall be the priest's that offereth it," — he expressly denies 
the literal interpretation of it, thus: Quid dicimus ? Putamusque quod omni- 
potens Deus qui responsa Moysi ca3litus dabat, de clibano, et craticula et sarta- 
gine praeciperit? - - Sed non ita ecclesiae pueri Christum didicerunt, nee ita in 
eum per Apostolos eruditi sunt, ut de Domino majestatis aliquid tam humile et 
tam vile suscipiant. Quin potius secundum spiritalem sensura, quem spiritus 
donat ecclesiae, videamus, quod sit istud sacrificium, quod coquatur in clibano. 
More proof is not needed. Yet Origen did not venture to deny that the great- 
est part of the ritual law had a literal meaning, and that God by i\Ioses [p. 656.] 
commanded that very worship which the Hebrews paid before Christ's advent: 
nay, he extols and lauds this same worship. To pass over many other exam- 
ples, he thus commences his twenty-third Homily on Numb. (0pp. torn. ii. p. 
356.): Si observatio sacrificiorum et instituta Jegalia quae in typo data sunt 



188 Ce)iturij IIL—Sectioii 28. 

populo Israel, usque mcI praesens tempus stare potuissent, exclusissent sine dubio 
Eviingelii J'ulem. - - - Erat enim in illis, quce tunc observabantur, magnifica 
qua3dem et totius reverentise plena religio, quce ex ipso ctiam primo aspeetu 
obstupefaceret intuentes. Quis enim videns illud, quod appellabatur sanctua- 
rium, et intuens altare, adstantes etiam sacerdotes sacrifieia consuminantes, om- 
nemque ordinem, quo euncta ilia gerebantur, aspiciens, non putaret, plenissi- 
mum liunc esse ritum, quo Deus creator omnium ab humano genere coli debe- 
ref? See also the many expositions of the Mosaic laws in his Homilies on 
Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, in which he first inquires after the literal 
meaning and pronounces it useful, and then proceeds to the mysteries it 
contains. He however did maintain, that the Mosaic ritual law, which anciently 
had a literal or grammatical sense, entirely lost that sense after Christ's advent, 
and by Christians was to be understood only mystically. In his sixth Homily 
on Gen. \ 3. (0pp. tom. ii. p. 77.) he says : Quod si edoceri vis, quomodo lex 
mortua sit, considera et vide, ubi nunc sacrifieia, ubi nunc altare, ubi tempi um, 
ubi purificationes ? nonne mortua est in his omnibus lex? Aut si possunt isti 
amici ac defensores littera3, custodiant litteram legis. Origen pronounces the 
law dead^ when it cannot and should not be observed ; but it is aliie when it 
can and should be obeyed according to its literal import. In his eleventh 
Homily on Exod. (;) 6. p. 171.) he says: Infirmatur lex in carne, id est, in littera, 
^ nihil potest secundum litteram facere. - - Secundum autem consilium, quod 
nos afferimus ad legem, possunt omnia spiritaliter fieri. Possunt et sacrifieia 

spiritaliter offerri, quae modo carnaliter non possunt. Quomodo nos sentimus 

et consilium damns, omnia faeit lex: secundum literam autem non omnia, sed 
admodum pauca. Therefore there were some, at least, of the ritual laws, which 
he supposed, as before shown, can and should be observed at the present day. 
But by what marks we are to know what parts of the law never had any literal 
meaning, and what parts admitted of a threefold exposition before the advent 
of Christ, and now admit of only a twofold exposition, — a moral and a mystical, 
— T do not recollect that he has any where informed us. I make no question, 
however, that he applied here that general rule already stated, — that whatever 
injunctions were unworthy of God, or absurd, or impossible to be executed, 
were to be regarded as having no literal meaning. 

Rule Vn. In the Biblical narrations and in the prophecies concerning na- 
tions, countries, and cities, in addition to the moral or spiritual sense, there is 
[p. 657.] also an anagogical sense, or one that relates to the celestial or upper 
world: but this sense must be explored cautiously and with diffidence, for it is 
extremely recondite. As we have shown, Origen believed that this lower world 
of ours resembles the world above, and therefore, whatever is narrated or pre- 
dicted in the scriptures respecting the Jews, the Tyrians, the Sidonians, the 
Egyptians, and other nations, — all holds true also of the world of souls, in 
W'hich the angels preside. In defending this fiction, he is extravagant enough 
to hazard the assertion, that even the sufferings and death of Christ in some 
sense took place also in the supersensible world. Thus, in his first Homily on 
Levit. (§ 3. p. 186, &c.) : Recte ergo (Moses) secundo nominat altare, quod est 
ad ostium tabernaculi testimonii, quia non solum pro terrestribus sed etiam pro 



Or Ig ell's Ilcxapla. 189 

cceiestibus oblatus est hostia Jesus: Et hie quidem pro hominibus ip^am corpo- 
rakm materiam sanguinis sui fudit, in ca3lestibu3 vcro miiiistrantibus (si qui illi 
inibi sunt) saoerdotibus, vilalem corporis sui viriuiem, velut spiritalc quoddani 
pacrificium iinmolavit. And this he very strangely endeavors to prove by IK-br. 
ix. 20. and Hebr. vii. 25. Concerning this opinion of Origcn, lluel h;is a discus- 
sion in his Origeniana, (Lib. ii. Qua^st. iii. p. 59, &c.) ; and he taxes all his in- 
genuity to screen the man, at least partially, if not wholly, from this charge. 
But this distinguished scholar effects nothing; and he did not, or would not, see 
that this fiction of Origeu followed, necessarily, from his doctrine of the agree- 
ment and similitude existing between the celestial and terrestrial worlds. 

(2) Tiie learned have justly admired, and have extolled in the highest terms 
the untiring industry and perseverance of Origen, in compiling liis Tetrapla and 
Hexapla, in which he brought together all the Greek translations of the Old 
Testament then extant, and compared them with the Hebrew text. What is 
called his Tetrapla, was an edition of the Old Testament, in which he combined 
with the Hebrew text the four celebrated Greek versions, those of the Seventy, 
of Aquila, of Symmachus, and of Theodotion ; and so arranged the whole that 
they could easily be compared with each other, and with the Hebrew. The 
pages were divided into five columns ; the first column contained the Hebrew 
text, first in Hebrew and then in Greek letters. The four other columns con- 
tained the four Greek versions above named, together with significant marks 
and critical notes. When three other Greek versions of the Old Testament 
were afterwards found at Jericho, Origen added these also to his work ; which 
then acquired the name of Hexapla, because it contained six Greek versions of 
the Old Testament. They might have been called seven ; but they were reckoned 
as only six, because the sixth and seventh, which perhaps differed but a little, 
were accounted but one, and occupied only one column, namely, the [p. 658.] 
seventh. Of this immortal work, Bernard de Monffaucon has treated largely, in 
the Prolegomena to his edition of the remains of the Hexapla, printed at Paris, 
1713, 2 vols, folio. This immense labor Origen undertook, especially for the 
benefit of those who were either wholly ignorant of Hebrew, or had but a 
slight acquaintance with it, that they might obtain a better knowledge of Ihe 
literal meaning of the Bible, by comparing so many different Greek versions. 
And yet tliis same Origen maintained that the words of scripture, in very many 
places, have no meaning at all; and he advised his pupils to disregard the 
literal sense of scripture, or what he calls the body of it, and to search only for 
its marrow and its soul, that is, for its mystical and moral interpretation. And 
his own practice as a commentator coincided with his precepts. And thus, fre- 
quently, very great men are inconsistent with themselves, or sometimes follow 
one principle, and sometimes another. It was certainly of no importance to 
have the means of arriving at the literal meaning, if that meaning is of no 
worth; and as for the mystical senses, they can be successfully explored, with- 
out the trouble of examining the numberless phrases and uses of words in the 
sacred volume. Origen, therefore, by that immense labor, produced a work of 
little utility, either to himself or to those who follow his mode of interpreting 
the scriptures ; and he does not himself resort to liis Hexapla for aid, in hia 
Commentaries and Homilies, because it was little suited to his purpose. 



100 Century Ill.—Section 29. 

§ XXIX. Oriircn and Mystic Theology. This Origen, wllO was the 
chief corrupter of Christianity by philosopliical speculations, ana 
who introduced the fictions of his own mind into the holy scrip- 
tures, did likewise, by his precepts respecting the origin of the 
soul, and its self-determination in action, give encouragement 
and support to that unsocial class of men who strive to with- 
draw their minds from all sensible and material objects, and to 
associate themselves with the divine nature by contemplation- 
At least, this is a fact, that after his writings began to circulate 
among Christians, and his opinions to be lauded, embraced, and 
propagated, far gi^eater numbers than before ga f e up all worldly 
business and cares, to increase their piety ; and, in order to be- 
hold God mentally, resolved to retire into solitary places, expect- 
ing, by concentrated meditation and by the mortification of their 
bodies, to obtain spiritual freedom and complete tranquillity of 
mind.(') And, perhaps, the famous Paul of Thebais, who, to 
save his life during the Decian 23ersecution, is reported to have 
fled into the deserts, and there to have lived to extreme old age, 
[p. 659.] and who was accounted the leader and father of the 
Eremites^ — chose, on the termination of the persecution, not to 
return to social life, but to spend all his days among wild beasts, 
for this reason, that he might purge out of his mind all images 
of sensible things, and bind it to God by indissoluble ties.(^) 

(1) Origen embraced and held all those principles which lie at the foundation 
of what is properly denominated Mystic Theology. In the first place, he be- 
lieved that man has two souls; the one a rational soul, which is of divine origin; 
the other not rational, but capable of apprehending and of craving external ob- 
jects, and of exciting various emotions in the man. He believed that the higher 
or rational soul originated out of the divine nature, and would return into it 
again ; that it existed from eterniiy in the upper world, and was of a spotless 
character; that, for some fault committed, it was condemned to reside in its 
present concrete body; that it retains its innate perceptions of truth, goodness, 
and justice ; that while inhabiting the body, it has a natural power of exciting 
the latent principles of truth and goodness inherent in it; that all its propense- 
ness to evil and sin, arises from its connection with the sentient soul, and from 
the contagion of the body ; and that there is no way for it to become perfect 
and happy, but by freeing itself from the ties which connect it with the animal 
soul, subduing the power of the senses, withdrawing itself from the objects 
which allure the senses, arousing its inherent perceptions (of virtue) by con- 
tinued meditation, and by weakening and exhausting the activities of the body in 
which it is imprisoned. Now, the man who adopts all these notions, is a travel- 



Origcn and Mi/stk Theology. 191 

ler in tlic direct road to th:it system of doctrine which bears the name of Mys- 
tic Theology. — Hut, in addition to these notions, Origen held some opinions 
which give energy and force to those common notions of mystics, and prompt 
them more strongly and earnestly to desire solitude, and to indulge the hope of 
a mystical deification. The first of these opinions was his celebrated doeirine 
concerning the soul of Jesus Christ, which, he snjjposed, as we have before 
stated, — by intense and uninterrupted contemi)lation of the Word or Son of 
God, before his descent to our world, had become so absorbed in the divine 
Word, as to form but one person with him. For the soul of Christ is of the 
same nature with all other human souls. In his Principia, (L. ii. § 5. p. 91.) he 
says: Naturam quidem anima3 Christi banc fuisse, quae est omnium animarum, 
non potest dubitari: alioquin nee dici anima potuit, si vere non fuit anima. 
Therefore, all the souls of men, though at present vastly inferior to that chief 
of all souls, and though living in exile and in prison houses, — have the power* 
by contemplating the Word of God, to withdraw themselves from the body and 
from the associated sentient soul, and to bring themselves into closer [p. 660.] 
communion with the Son of God. He says : Anima, quae quasi ferrum in igne, 
sic semper in Verbo, semper in sapientia, semper in Deo posita est, omne quod 
agit, quod sentit, quod intelligit, Deus est. This indeed he says especially of 
Christ's soul; but he immediately adds, that he would not exclude entirely the 
souls of holy men from the same felicity. Ad omnes denique sanctos calor 
aliquis Verbi Dei putandus est pervenisse : in hac autem anima (Christi) ipse 
ignis divinus substantialiter requievisse credendus est, ex quo ad ceteros calor 
aliquis pervenerit. This then was Origen's belief: That every rational soul 
that follows the example of Christ's soul, and assiduously contemplates the 
Word of God, or Christ, becomes a participant of that Word, and, in a sense, 
receives the Word into itself. In another passage, (de Principiis, Lib. iii. c. iii. 
^ 3.) he expresses the same sentiment thus: Sanctai et immaculatie animac si cum 
omni afFectu, omnique puritate se voverint Deo et alienas se ab omni daemonum 
contagione servaverint, et per multara abstinentiam purificaverint se et piis ac 
religiosis irabuta? fuerint disciplinis, participium per hoc duinitatis assumunt et 
prophetiae ac ceterorum divinorum donorum gratiam merentur. — Whither these 
opinions lead, and how much they must strengthen the propensity and facilitate 
the progress of those naturally inclined to austerities, to holy idleness and to 
irrational devotion, all who are acquainted with human nature can easily 
perceive. 

But I think it will not be unpleasant to many, to see this portion of Origen's 
system more fully developed, and to learn more clearly how the several parts 
stand connected, and by what arguments they are supported. I will therefore 
show, as briefly as I can, how Origen brings down souls, the daughters of the 
supreme Deity, from their state of blessedness in heaven, into this lower world ; 
and what method he points out for their recovering their lost felicity. A know- 
ledge of these things will be the more useful, the more numerous at the present 
day those are, who either altogether or in part agree with Origen, and the fewer 
tliose are, who treat of Origen with a full understanding of his views. 

1. No one is prosperous and happy, no one is wretched and unhappy, and 



192 Centunj III— Section 29. 

no one is either more li.ippy or more miserable than other people, except in ac. 
pordai-kce with his own merits or demerits. For God, who rules and ^-overns all 
tilings, is always and infinitely just ; and therefore cannot allot to any crea- 
ture, not meriting it, either reward or punishment. This is the great and fun- 
damental principle, on which nearly the whole fabric of Origen's theology rests, 
and from which he deduces the greater part of his opinions. 

II. All the souls or persons, — for Origen considered the hody as no part of 
the man, so that with him soul and person were synonymous — all the souls in- 
habiting this world, are unhappy, or are encompassed with many evils and trou- 
bles, some w-ith greater and some with less. Now as no one can be unhappy, 
[p. 661.] or be less happy than others, except by his own fault, we are com- 
pelled to believe that all the souls inhabiting bodies, have merited the evils 
they now suffer. 

III. Hence we can not doubt that oui; rational souls, before they entered our 
bodies, used the powers God gave them, improperly, and for these their faults 
they were condemned to live in bodies ; those guilty of greater offences were 
encompassed with greater evils, and those guilty of smaller offences were in- 
volved in lighter calamities. Unless this be admitted, we cannot account for 
the great ditlerence in the conditions of men in this world ; nor can we silence 
the objections of adversaries to the providence of God. These principles Origen 
inculcates in many parts of his waitings : we will cite one of the principal pas- 
sages, namely, de Principiis L. ii. c 9. ]). 97. where he says : Si haec tanta rerura 
diversitaa, nascendique conditio tam varia tamque diversa, in qua caussa utique 
facultas liberi arbitrii locum non habet (non enim quis ipse sibi eligit, vel ubi,vel 
apud quos, vel qua conditlone nascatur.) Si ergo hoc non facit naturte diversitas 
animarum, id est, ut mala natura animee ad gentem malam distinetur, bona autem 
ad bonas, quid aliud superest, nisi ut fortuito ista agi putentur et casu ? Quod 
utique si recipiatur, jam nee a Deo factus est mundus, nee a providentia ejus 
regi credetur, et consequenter nee Dei judicium de uniuscujusque gestis videbi- 
tur expectandum. To these objections of the heretics, he replies in the follow- 
ing words : Deus sequales creavit omnes ac similes quos creavit, quippe cum 
nulla ei caussa varietatis ac diversitatis existeret. Verum quoniam rationabiles 
ipsae creaturae — arbitrii facultate donatte sunt, libertas unumquemque voluntatis 
suae, vel ad profectum per imitationem Dei provocavit, vel ad defectum per neg- 
ligentiam traxit. Et ha3c exstitit caussa diversitatis inter rationabiles crcatnras, 
non ex conditioris voluntate vel judicio originem trahens, sed propria libcrtatis 
arbitrio. Deus vero cui jam creaturam suam pro merito dispensarc justum vide- 
batur, diversitates mentium in unius mundi consonantiam traxit, quo velut unam 
doraum - - ex istis diversis vasis, vel animis, vel mentibus, ornaret. Et has caussas 
mundus iste suae diversitatis accepit, dum unumquemque divina providentia pro 
varietate raotuum suorum vel animorum propositique dispensat. Qua ratione 
neque creator injustus videbitur, cum secundum prrecedentes caussas pro merito 
unumquemque distribuit. And he attempts to prove these his assertions by 
Bcripture, especially by what is said of Jacob and Esau, Rom. ix. 11, 12. He 
closes his argument with these words ; Justitia Dei demum lucidius ostendetur, 



Ongcii*s Tlieolo(jy. 193 

SI caussas diversita,ti3 uniuscnjusque vol coelestium, vel terrestrium vel infonio- 
nitn insemetipsoyjrcTceJ^n^es nathitatem corpoream Iiabere credatar. 

IV. God created nil souls perfectly alike, and endued them all witli the full- 
est power of employing their faculties well or ill, according to their pleasure ; 
80 that they might be able to look continunlly on the eternal Reason [p. 662.] 
of God or his Word and Son ; and mi<rht, by this contemplation, increase in 
wisdom and virtue, and finally become united to God through the medium of 
his Son. This sentiment of Origeii is most manifest from the passage just 
eited, and from many others. 

V. These free souls, before they were enclosed in bodies, and before this 
world was created, w'ere by God placed under the following law ; Every soul 
that would be prosperous and happy, must look constantly upon the Son of 
God, his Wisdom, his Reason, just as he w^ould upon a mirror or a pattern, and 
must imitate him. By so doing, that soul will increase in wisdom and virtue 
and in all blessedness, and will gradually become incapable of sinning, and will 
be united closely with the Son of God whose image it bears. But every soul 
that averts its attention from this only exemplar of wisdom and sanctity, and 
pleases itself with the contemplation of material things, by the righteous judg- 
ment of God, will forfeit its natural blessedness, and be punished for its of- 
fences in a material body. 

VI. Of all souls no one obeyed this divine law more sacredly and earnestly, 
than that soul which became associated with Jesus Christ the Son of God. For, 
by a perpetual and most intense contemplation of the Word or Son of God, 
this soul attained to the highest point of sanctity, and merited to be made one 
person with the Word. 

VII. But a vast multitude of souls disobeyed this divine law, and, disregard- 
ing the Son of God, the eternal divine Reason, slid into the contemplation of 
other inferior and more ignoble objects. The cause of this transgression may 
be traced partly to the very nature of the soul, which is finite and therefore mu- 
table, and partly to that subtile body, with which all souls are clothed. For 
this tenuous, shadowy body, though it be etherial and very different from our 
gross bodies, nevertheless has some power, if the soul is off its guard, of with- 
drawing the mind from the contemplation of heavenly and divine things, and of 
inducing it to misdirect its movements. De Principiis, L. ii. (c. 9. sec. 2. 
p. 97.) : Rationabiles istje naturae, quia esse coeperunt, necessario convertibiles 
et mutabiles substiterunt : quoniam qua^cunque inerat substantia) earum virtus, 
non naturaliter inerat, sed beneficio conditoris effecta. - - Omne (nempe) quod 
datum est, etiam auferri et recedere potest. Recedendi autem caussa in eo 
erit, si non recte et probabiliter dirigitur raotus animorum. Voluntarios enim 
et liberos motus a se conditis mentibus creator indulsit, quo scilicet bonum in 
eis proprium fieret, cum id voluntate propria servaretur : sed dcsidia et lalioris 
tredium in servando bono, et aversio ac negligentia meliorum initium dedit rece- 
dendi a bono. It is well known, that Origen assigned to all souls tenuous 
bodies. 

VIII. So many souls having, by their own fault, become vicious, it was ne- 
cessary for God to perform the duty of a judge, and execute his threat to con- 

VOL. IL 14 



194 Century III.— Section 29. 

neet them with material bodies and sentient souls. But as all had not sinned 
[p. 663.] in an equal degree, some having departed farther than others from 
goodness, divine justice required, that the punishment of each should be propor- 
tionate to his offence. 

IX. Hence, God determined to create a world (or material universe,) admi- 
rably composed of innumerable bodies of divers kinds; so that each of the souls 
which had variously deviated from their duty in the upper world, might here i-e- 
verally find a prison corresponding with its crimes. From many passages, 1 
select a few only. In his Principia (L. ii. c. 9. sec. 2. p. 97.) he says : Unaqua;- 
que mens pro motibus suis vel amplius, vel parcius bonum negligens, in con- 
trarium boni, quod sijie dubio malum est, traliebatur. Ex quo videtur semina 
qua?dam et caussas varietatis ac diversitatis ille omnium conditor accepisse, ut 
pro diversiiate mentium, id est, rationabilium creaturarum — varium ac diversum 
mundum crearet. Ibid. (sec. 6. p. 99.) : Deus cui creaturam suam pro merito 
dispensare justum videbatur, diversitates mentium in unius mundi consonan- 
tiam traxit. Ibid. (sec. 7. p. 100.) : Unusquisque in co quod mens creatus a 
Deo est vel rationabilis spiritus, pro motibus mentis et sensibus animorum, vel 
plus vel minus sibi meriti paravit, vel amabilis Deo, vel etiara odibilis cxtitit. — 
Nam justitia creatoris in omnibus debet apparere. 

X. The cause, therefore, of God's creating this material w^orkl (or universe; 
was, the sins which souls committed before thi;5 world existed. Nor should we 
view this world otherwise than as a vast dwelling-place, comprising innumerable 
cottages of various classes, arranged with consummate art, in which souls, fallen 
into sin by their own fault, might be detained for a season, until they repent 
and return to their duty. In his Principia, L. ii. (c. 9. sec. 9. p. 100.) he says: 
Unumquodque vas secundum mensuram puritatis suce aut impuritatis, locum, 
vel regionem, vel conditionera nascendi vel explendi aliquid in hoc mundo ac- 
cepit : quae omnia Deus usque ad minimum virtute sapientiiis sUcC providens ac 
dignoscens, moderamine judicii sui aequissima retributione universa disponit, 
quatenus unicuique pro merito vel succurri vel consul! deberet. In quo profecto 
omnis ratio sequitatis offenditur, dum inaequalitas rerum retributionis merito- 
rura servat aequitatem. 

XI. Of the punishments endured by souls in their state of exile and captivity, 
besides the loss of their former felicity, the principal and the greatest is, that 
each is joined with an animated body; that is, with a mass of gross matter, in 
Avhich lives a sentient soul, that now craves and desires, and now abhors and 
hates. For it results from this conjunction, that the rational soul feels little or 
no desire for heavenly and divine things, but on the contrary, craves and lusts 
after earthly and sensible objects, and is agitated and pained with desires that 
are sometimes vain and sometimes hurtful. And the society of the body not 
only increases this evil, and weakens the force and energy of the mind, but also 
causes the rational soul to participate in the pains and anguish of the body. 

[p. 664.] XII. As all divine punishments are salutary and useful, so also 
that which divine justice has inflicted on vitiated souls, although it is a great 
evil, is nevertheless salutrry in its tendency, and should conduct them to bless- 
edness. For the tiresome conflict of opposite propensities, the onsets of the 



Or it/en's Theology. 1<)5 

passions, the pains, the sorrows, jvnd other evils arisiiifj from the connexion of 
the mind with the body and with a sentient soul, may and shou.d excile the cap. 
tive soul to long for the recovery of its lost happiness, and lead it to concen- 
trate all its energies in order to escape from its misery. For God acis like a 
physician, wlio employs harsh and bitter remedies, not only to cure ihe diseas- 
ed, but also to induce them to preserve their health and avoid whatever might 
impair it. De Principiis, L. ii. (c. 10. sec. 6. p. 102.): Si ad corporis sanita- 
teni pro Iiis vitiis, qua3 per escam potumque collegimus, necessariam habemus 
interdum austerioris ac mordacioris medicamenti curam : notniumquam vero si 
id vitii qualitas depoposcerit, rigore ferri et sectionis asperitate indigemus: - . 
Quanto magis inlelligendura est, et hunc medicum nostrum Deum volentem 
diluero viiia animarum nostrarum, qntc ex peceatorum et scelerum diversitate 
collegerant, uti hujuscemodi pa-.nalibus curis, insuper eliam (apud inferos) ignis 
inferre supplicium his qui anima3 sanitatem perdiilerunt. - - Furor vindictae Dei 
ad purgationem proficit animarum. - - Origen indeed here refers, more espe- 
cially, to the pains and punishments which souls endure in hell; yet he states 
the nature of all the evils which God inflicts upon rational beings. And it is 
very clear, that Origen believed in no divine punishments but such as are use- 
ful and .salutary (to the transgressors). 

XIII. For the souls in whom the sorrows of their prison awakens a desire 
for their lost happiness, there is one and the same law, as for the souls desti- 
tute of bodies and resident with God. No soul can become happy, except by 
means of the eternal Reason and Wisdom of God, or his Word and Son; on 
whom they must fix their thoughts, and by persevering meditation and contem- 
plation, must appropriate him, as it were, and make themselves one with him. 

XIV. Innumerable souls, both among the Jews and among other nations, 
have performed this duty, and that before the advent of Christ. For exiled cap- 
tive souls have not changed their natures, but retain still their inherent free 
will: and therefore they are able, although with difficulty, by their own inhe- 
rent powers to elevate themselves again, and, by the use of correct reason, to 
gradually ascend to the eternal Reason or Son of God. And the more reli- 
giously and correctly a soul uses its reason, the nearer it approaches to God 
and to his Son. De Principiis, L. i. (c. 3. sec. 6. p. 62.) : Participatio Dei pa- 
tris pervenit in omnes tarn justos, quara peccatores, et rationabiles atque irrii- 
tionabiles. - - Ostendit sane et Apostolus Paulus, quod omnes habeant parti- 
cipium Christi. Rom. x. 6, 7, 8. Ex quo in corde omnium significat [p. C65.J 
esse Christum secundum id quod verbum vel ratio est, cujus participatione ra- 
tionabiles sunt. See here the Christ in us, or the Word wilkin, of which the 
Mystics talk so much. — And hence, there is good ground of hope for the salva- 
tion of the ancient philosophers, especially Plato, Socrates, and others, who 
averted their minds from the body and the senses. — Yet for souls oppressed 
with bodies, this is a very arduous and difficult task ; and but few successfully 
accomplish it without divine aid. 

XV. Therefore God, who is desirous of the salvation of souls, sent that 
Word of his, by communion with whom alone their recovery was possible, 
clotiicd in a human body, from heaven unto men, or unto the exiled souls en- 



196 Century Ill.—Section 29. 

closed in bodies; that he might distinctly teach them divine wisdom, by which 
the way of salvation is manifest, but to which they with difficulty attain 
when left to themselves; and that, while admonishing them of their duty, 
he miglit, by patiently enduring very great sufferings and even death, ob- 
tain from God a termination of their imprisonment and exile. Wliat were 
Origen's views of tlie effects of Christ's death and sufferings it is very dif- 
ficult to say : yet, unless I entirely misapprehend him, he did not believe 
with us, that Christ, by his death and sufferings, merited for us eternal life. 
This could not be admitted by the man who believed, that no one can become 
happy except by his own merits, and that even fallen souls must attain to hap- 
piness by the proper use of their own free will. This, tlierefore, was the great 
benefit, w^hich he supposed the death of Christ procured for souls, his showing 
them that God can revoke his sentence against them and release them from 
prison and exile. The divine justice must, in some w^ay, be moved to remit the 
punishment, which souls have merited by the abuse of their free will ; and this 
requisite was supplied by the voluntary suffering to which Christ submitted. 
Christ, therefore, is like a wealthy and munificent citizen, who, by paying over 
an immense sum to the government, or by voluntarily performing some very 
difhcult service for the public good, obtains from the injured sovereign permis- 
sion for banished exiles to return to their country. But the malefiictors who 
are permitted to return, are not thereby restored to their former happy state : 
this they must procure, either by their own virtue, or by the virtues of others. 

XVI. There is now, since the advent of Christ, a plain and easy w^ay for 
souls to recover that felicity from which they have fallen by their own fault. 
To walk in it, they must first, by faitli, embrace the eternal Word of God, who 
has appeared on earth clothed in a human body ; and they must constantly look 
on him as the only author and teacher of eternal salvation. 

XVII. And then, to attain a closer union with Christ, and a more perfect 
knowledge of the divine wisdom residing in him, they must make it their first 
and great care, to free themselves from the contagion of the sentient soul. 
And therefore they must estrange themselves from their eyes and cars and other 
[p. 666.] senses, and with all their might must betake themselves to the con- 
templation of heavenly truth. Mortification must also be applied to the body, 
which greatly increases and strengthens the power of the sentient soul, espe- 
cially, if it be luxuriously fed and greatly indulged. And finally, as the images 
of the things and persons about us or with which we are conversant are apt to 
rush into the mind through the senses, and greatly to excite and distract the 
mind, thereby inducing forgetfulness of the things beyond our senses, and great 
debility in our free will, — a man will best provide for the freedom and the forti- 
tude of a mind altogether upright, by shunning as much as possible inter- 
course with men, conversation, business, and the bustle of the world, and re- 
tiring into solitude. 

XVIII. The rational soul that will thus exercise itself, continually, and 
never remove its eyes from Christ, will, by a slow process, become what it was 
before it entered the body : that is, from being a soul propense towards corpo- 
real things and seeking its pleasure in the senses, it will become pure and be 



Orig ell's Th color/]/. 197 

elevated above all earthly and perishing- ol;)jo<;ts. De Principiis, L, ii. (o. 8. 
see. 3. ]). 96.) : Mens ("owc), de statu suo ac diijiiilatc declinans, ctfecta vel nun- 
ciipata est anima (i^X'^)^ ^^ rursuin aiiima instrueta virtutibus mens fict. Nav, 
as before stated, such a soul, by a perpetual contemplation of Christ, becomes 
transformed into Christ, according^ to its measure and capacity. See, among other 
passages, the /Am/ chapter of Book ii, of his Principia; where, in treating of Paul's 
words, 1 Cor. xv. 63. (For tliis mortal must put on immortality,) he says : In- 
corruptio et immortalitas quid aliud erit, nisi sapientia, et verbum. ct justitia 
Dei, quae formant aiiimam, et induunt, et exornant? Et ita lit, ut dicatur, quia 
corruptibile incorruptionem induct et mortale immortalitatem. De Principiis 
L. i. (e. 3. sec. 6. p. 62.) : Omnes qui rationabiles sunt, verbi, id est, Rationis 
partieipes sunt, et per hoc velut semina insita sibi gerunt sapientiae et Justitiae, 
quod est Christus. Ibid. c. ii. (sec. 7. p. 52.) : Propinquitas quaedam est menti 
ad Deum - - et per haec potest aliquid de divinitatis sentire natura, maxime si 
expurgatior et segregatior sit a materia corporali. 

XIX. This whole work of purifying the soul and translating it into Ciu-ist, doea 
not exceed the powers of man. For as the rational soul is allied to God, although 
it may lapse and go astray, it cannot lose its essential character or nature. If, 
therefore, the inherent energies of free will are called forth, the soul can, by its 
own power, wipe away its poUution.s, and by a gradual process work its way out 
of its darkness. And as no one can become happy, but by his own merit, the 
soul will either never attain to happiness, or it will attain to it by its own powers. 

XX. Yet those who properly use that power of free will which they pos- 
sess, are assisted by the Holy Spirit ; and this enables them to advance foster 
and reach the goal the sooner. For, as none can become sharers in the divine 
rewards and blessings, except they merit them, so the Holy Spirit aids no one, 
unless he merits that aid. De Principiis, L. i. (c. 3. p, 62.) : In illis [p. 667.J 
solis arbitror esse opus Spiritus sancti, qui jam se ad meliora convertunt, et per 
vias Christi Jesu incedunt, id est, qui sunt in bonis actibus, et in Deo perma- 
nent. And a little after, (in sec. 7. p. 63.) he more clearly states his views 
thus: Est etalia quoque Spiritus sancti gratia, quae dignis praestatur, ministra- 
ti quidem per Christum, inoperata autem a Pat re secundum meritum eoruw, 
qui capacesejus efliciuntur. 

XXI. The gifts which the Holy Spirit imparts to the enlightened in order 
to facilitate their progress, are indeed various ; but among them, two are pro- 
minent. FirsU the Holy Spirit lays open to them the mystical and spiritual 
sense of the holy Scriptures. De Principiis, L. ii. (c. 7. sec. 2. p. 93.) Per 
gratiam Spiritus sancti cum reliquis quamplurimis etiara illud magnificentissi- 
mum demonstratur, quod (ante Christum) vix unus ex omni populo superare 
poterat intellectum corporeum (legis e4. prophetarum) et majus aliquid, id est, 
spiritale quid poterat inteliigere in lege vel prophetis : nunc autem innumerae 
sunt multitudines credentinm, qui licet non omnes possint per ordinem atque 
ad liquidum spiritalis intellegentiae explanare consequentiam, tamen omnes pcr- 
Buasum habeant, quod neque circumcisio corporaliter intelligi debeat, neque 
otium sabbati, vel sanguinis effusio pecoris, neque quod de his IMoysi resjionsa 
darentur a Deo: qui utique sensus dubiura non est quod Spiritus sancti virtute 



198 Century Ill.—Scctlon 20. 

omnibus sng-geratur. — Secondly, to those striving after wisdom and virtue, the 
Holy S})irit explains the forms and tlie grounds and reasons of the doctrines 
taught in the Bible; and from these they derive great eon)fort and delight. 
Ibid. (see. 4. p. 93.) De Spiritu sancto partieipare meruerit, eognitis ineilubili- 
bus sacramenlis consolationem sine dubio et laetitiam cordis assumit. Cum 
enim rationes omnium, quaj fiunt, quare vol qualiter fiant, Spiritu indicante cog- 
noverit, in nullo utique conturbari ejus anima poterit : ncc in aliquo terretur, 
cum verbo Dei et Sapientiac ejus inhaerens, Dominum Jesum dieit in Spiritu 
sancto. I omit what follows, for tlic sake of brevity. 

(2) About the middle of this century, and during the Decian persecution, 
one Paul of Thebes, in Egypt, to preserve his life, fled into the deserts, and 
there lived till he died at an extreme age in the fourth century. And this Paul 
has generally been accounted the founder of the solitary or Eremile life ; on 
the authority of Jerome, who composed his biography. (See the Acta Sane- 
tor. Antwerp. Tom. 1. Januarii ad diem x. p. 602.) But this opinion, as Jerome 
himself tells us in the Prologue to his Life of Paul, rests solely on the testimo- 
ny of two disciple of St. Anthony, who are not witnesses above all exceptions; 
Amathas vero et Macarius, discipuii Aiitonii - - etiam nunc affirmant, Paulum 
[p. 668.] quemdam Thebaeum principem hujus rei fuisse. Thus much may be 
conceded to these men, that prior to St. Anthony, their master, this Paul resid- 
ed in the desert parts of Egypt. But that no Christian anterior to Paul, either 
in Egypt or in any other country, retired from the society of men in order to 
acquire an extraordinary degree of holiness, can never be proved by the testi- 
mony of these illiterate men, who, like all the so-called Eremites, were ignorant 
of the history of the world. Nor was this opinion as to the origin of the eremite 
life, universally adopted in the age of Jerome: for he himself states various 
other opinions on the subject. He appears indeed to have believed the state- 
ment of the two eremites. And yet this is not altogether certain ; for his 
words are not the same in the dilTerent copies of his work. John Mariianay, 
in his edition of Jerome's Works, (torn. iv. P. ii. p. 89.) thus states them : 
Paulum quemdam principem istius rei fui.-^se, non nominis : quam opinionem 
nos quoque probamus. But Erasmas and the Acta Sanctorum read : Quod 
non tam nomine, quam opinione, nos quoque comprobamus; the meaning of 
which, it is difficult to moke out. Other copies read differently. If Jerome did 
believe, what he says the two disciples of Anthony stated, that the eremite life 
originated with this Paul, he certainly erred. For it appears, both from ex- 
amples and from testimony, that before this man, not a few of the class of 
Christians called Ascetics, especially in Egypt, a country abounding in persons 
naturally gloomy and averse from society, did retire from the cities and towns 
into the fields and the uncultivated regions, in order to deprive the sentient 
soul of its delights, to mortify the body, and to aid the divine mind toiling in 
its prison. And that very Anthony, whom some make the father of eremites, 
followed the example of an old man who had pursued this mode of life from 
his youth ; as Athanasius expressly testifies in his Life of St. Anthony, (0pp. 
tom. ii. p. 4.53.) And before this old man, very many adopted the same mode 
of life, although they did not retire to perfectly secluded places and to the 



Rise of Eremites. 199 

haunts of wild hcarits, but only erected for Ihemselvcs a retired domieil not Jar 
trotii tlieir vill.-iii^cs. So Alhanasiiis, in the passage just mentioned, says : "^.x.Ji<ms 
ifi rii'v f^cvKOfAeveuV i-iVTCc irpocrs^iiv, ov fAiiKfsav T«i iJ'ias }tu\u)is KXTauovai; iia-mirc, 
Unnstjuisijue eoruin, qui aniniuin curare volebat, solus non proeul a paL''o suo 
exerei'balur ; that is, subdued the body by toil, and averted the mind from the 
senses by prayer, and by meditation on divine things. Th:it so early as the 
second century, tliis mode of life was in Syria esteemed beantit'ul and accepla- 
ble to God, appears from the example of Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem, as 
stated by Euscbius, (Hhiov. Eccles. L, vi. c. 9, 10. p. 210, 211.) This man, 
weary of the assaults of ids enemies, and eager for a jihilosophical life, retired 
to unfrequented places : 'Eic rxun^Zu rdv tpixoa-op^^v da-ira^ijuivo^ /3coy S'laJ^pu; [p. 669.] 

irdv To T«s eH.K\no-iai nhii^cs iv tp»fj.iats y-<ii d^avis-iv dypoii havd-dvuv, ttAuo-to/; 'iriTi 

S'd^piliiv. Cum philosophicae vitac jam dudura amore teneretur, relicta ecclesiae 
plebe, in solitudine ac deviis agris plurimos annos delituit. After a long time he 
returned from solitude to his residence in Jerusalem, and was the admiration of 
every body and exceedingly courted by the people ; m « di'a;:^w/5«crea? 'ivoc-t 
Kut Tiis (ptKca-opias, cum ob sccessum turn ob philosophi.im (sou philosophi- 
cam vitfe formam.) Therefore, even iheii, the highest respect was paid to those 
who preferred solitude to society, and who, abandoning social life, retired into 
deserts. What Eusebius intended by the words philosophy and a philosophical 
life, those ftimiliar with the customs of the ancient Christians need not to be 
informed. For they are aware, that the Christian Ascetics, who sought the 
health of their souls in prayer, meditation, forsaking all worldly business, and 
subduing and mortifying the body by a spare and simple diet, were classed with 
the philosophers and assumed the name and the garb of philosophers. And 
this high opinion of the influence of solitude in sanctifying the soul, like many 
others, passed over from the Pagans to the Christians. That such Egyptians 
as wished to excel in virtue, and to prepare their souls for the world of bliss, 
were accustomed from the earliest times, to resort to solitary places, can be 
shown by many proofs ; among which, I think, one of peculiar value is found 
in Heiodotus, Histor. L. ii. (sec. 36. p. 102. edit. Gronov.) where he mentions it 
as a trait distinguishing the Egyptians from all other nations, that while others 
shunned t*lie society of wild beasts, the Egyptians thought it excellent to live 

among them ; Ioiti /ulv u/.hoia-t dv^f>ai7roi<rt ;i(^afic d-npiocv S'ltira droxiKpiTAt, 'Aiyvr- 
Ti'.io-i cTg lulu d->,pi:tcrt ii S'laira i^ri. Apud ceteros mortales victus a for;\rnm se- 
cretus est consortio : ^gyptii autem cum feris vivunt. Does not this language 
show, that many ages before our Saviour, there were in Egypt not a few Ere- 
mites, or persons choosing to live in deserts among the wild beasts? And at 
the present day the same customs prevail in Egypt, not only among Christians, 
but also among Mohammedans. The Platonic and Pythagort^an philosophers, 
also, inspired their followers with the love of solitude; and especially those 
called New Platonists, the disciples of A7nmonius, und the associates of that 
Origen of whom we are treating, were accustomed warmly to recom- 
mend retirement and seclusion from society to every one studious of wis- 
dom. In Porphyrij, the great ornament of this sect, there is a long passage on 
this subject, in his first book ^«pi aTi;t"*"j "^ Abstinence from flesh; in which 



200 Century III.— Section 80. 

he speaks in perfect accordance with the sentiments of Origen and the leaders 
of the mystic school. For he recommends that a philosopher make it his 
great object to become, by contemplation, united with the really Existent, or 
[p. G70.] God, {\ 29. p. 24.) And to obtain this bliss, in his opinion, the senses 
must be repressed and restrained, food be withheld from the body, and society 
be abandoned, and all places where there is danger to the soul. He says, 
among other things, (^35. p. 30 edit. Cantabr.) : "O^iv oa-n cTj^'va^tf dvoa-TATiov 

tdv TOiovruv ^apicDV, iv Tts x,at ^t« fioiihoui\ov IttX Tri^nr'nTTHV To- TikU'd-u. 

Unde quantum in nobis est, ab iis locis recedere par est, in quibus iiiviti forsan 
in hostile agmen incidemus. And this he confirms by the example of the early 
Pythagoreans, who tu eptif^orstTA x^"'^ KaruKovvy loca deserlissima incoluerunt; 

while others occupied rdv 7ro\ca>v tu iipa Kai TCI aha-Hy i^ wv « Tcdi(rad7ri\^KaT:ti rvp/^Hy 

urbium templa et nemora, a quibus omnis turba et tumultus arcebatur. By 
comparing Origen with Porphyj-y, it is easy to see that they both belonged to 
the same school ; for they lay down the same precepts in very nearly the same 
words. I will transcribe a passage from Porphijry in the Latin translation, 
(§ 30. p. 25.) in order to show the Mystics of the present day, whence came that 
doctrine which they deem so sacred, and which they suppose Christ taught. 
Oportet nos, si ad ea, quae revera nostra sunt et homini propria reverti velimus, 
qusecunque ex raortali natura nobis adscivimus, una cum omni ad ea inclina- 
tione, qua illectus animus ad ilia descendit, deponere, recordari vero beatee 
illius, ac seternae essentiee, et ad illud inaspectabile et immutabile properantes 
reditum htec duo curare: unum, ut quidquid est mortale ac materiale exuamus, 
alterum, quomodo redeamus et salvi ascendamus, diversi jam cum ascen- 
dimus a nobis ipsis cum prius ad mortalia descenderamus. Intelleetuales enim 
oiim eramus. - - Sensibilibus vero complicati sumus. 

§ XXX. Origen's Controversies with his Bishop, Tliat tlie au- 

tlior of so many new and singular opinions should have been 
assailed and harassed by the criminations and reproaches of 
many, is not at all strange. And Origen himself, in his writings 
yet extant, complains bitterly of the malice, the machinations, 
and the abuse of his adversaries ; some of whom condemned his 
philosophical explanations of Christian doctrines, and others as- 
sailed his rules for interpreting the scriptures. Yet his great 
merits, bis blameless life, and the high reputation he had every- 
where gained, might have overcome all this opposition, if he had 
not incurred the displeasure and hatred of his patron, DemetriuSy 
the bishop of Alexandria. The cause of .this enmity it is at this 
day difficult to trace ; nor is the generally reported envy of De- 
metrius free from all doubts, while its effects are most manifest, 
[p. 671.] For Demetrius compelled Origen to flee his country, 
and in two councils convened at Alexandria in his absence, first 



iris- 

10 



Orl(jeris Controversies. i>01 

removed him from his oflico of prccoj^tor, iind then deprived him 
of his standing among the priests ! The great majority of CI 
tian bishops approved the sentence ; but the prehates of tl 
churclies in Achaia, Palestine. Phenicia, and Arabia, disapproved 
it.(') lie therefore passed the remainder of his very laborious life 
at CiBsarea, and at other places ; and at last died at Tyre, A. D. 
253, an old man, exhausted by his heroic sufferings for Christ in 
the Decian persecution. But after his death he was the occasion 
of even greater disputes among polemics, some assailing and 
others defending his reputation and his correctness; of which 
long-protracted and unhappy contests, the history of the follow- 
ing centuries will exhibit abundant evidence. 

(1) The contests of Demetrius, bishop of Alexandria, with Origen, which 
gave rise to long and fierce conflicts, greatly disquieting the church during seve- 
ral ages, have been much discussed ; but the causes of the contention are in- 
volved in great obscurity, or, at least, are not so palpable as many suppose. 
For all our information must be drawn from a few not very perspicuous pas- 
sages in the early writers ; time having deprived us of the second part of Euse- 
bius' Apology for Origen, which was expressly devoted to the consideration 
and illustration of this subject. See Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. (L. vi. c. 23. 
p. 224.) The same Eusebius tells us, (Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 8. p. 209.) that 
Demetrius was moved by eiivy at the great reputation wiiich Origen had acquir- 
ed, to persecute the man who had once been dear to him. So likewise Jerome, 
in his twenty-ninth Epistle, (0pp. tom. iv. P. ii. p. 68.) says : Damnatum esse 
Originem non propter ha3resin, sed quia gloriam eloquentias ejus ot scientisc 
ferre non poterant, et illo dicente omnes muti putabantur. Relying on these 
very worthy authors, nearly all the writers on ecclesiastical history, and espe- 
cially those favorably inclined tovvards Origen, confidently assert, that the un- 
worthy controversy originated in the malevolence and envy of Demetrius ; and 
they pity the hard fortune of Origen, whose only offence was his learning, his 
virtue, and his eloquence. But for my part, — to say nothing of the uncertainty 
of such judgments respecting the secret motives of human actions, — when I 
survey attentively and weigh the occurrences between Demetrius and Origen, 
I come to the conclusion, that Demetrius' ill-will towards Origen did not arise 
from envij, if by envy be meant repining at the prosperity or fume of another. 
For Demetrius placed Origen at the head of the Alexandrian school, when he 
was a youth but eighteen years old, and he afterwards favored and [p. 672.] 
befriended him in various ways ; he gave him honorable testimonials and letters 
of introduction when visiting other countries; sent envoys to escort him home, 
afier a long residence in Palestine; and after the disagreement between them 
commenced, he permitted him to continue in his oflice at Alexandria ; and at 
last, did not command him to quit Alexandria, but after he had left the country 
voluntarily, called him to account. Do these things indicate a mind envious at 



202 Century TIL— Section 30. 

the reputation and virtues of Origen ? Persons envious of (he vii lues or elo- 
quence of others, do not bring them before the public and commend them ; 
they do not invite them to return from abroad, do not confer favors on them ; 
but rather, they depress them, treat them witii neglect, and wish them away from 
their presence. Some other cause, therefore, in my opinion, must be sought 
for this conflict. — I will first state what appears to me the true history of the 
case ; and then, as direct testimony is wanting, I will argue from the cii-cum- 
stances of the case. - - Demetrius cheerfully gave Origen employment and oflice ; 
he was pleased with tlie honors and applause w'hich Origen gained; he allov\ed 
him to visit other countries and churches which needed his aid, notwithstanding 
he knew that Origen would acquire fresh laurels by these journe3's; and finally, 
he was unwilling that a man whom he knew to be so great an ornament and 
sup[)c»rt to the church of Alexandria, should be removed or taken from him. No 
person can doubt any of these things, wlio shall even superficially examine the 
acts of Origen and Demetrius. But this same Demetrius wished Origen to re- 
main in the station he was now in, and not to be raided higher, or be put in 
orders and take a place among the presbyters of the Alexandrian church. This 
fact is sufficiently obvious, the cause of it is not equally clear. Those favoring 
Demetrius may conjecture, either that the bishop supposed a man who had 
emasculated himself would be a dishonor to the sacred office, or that the 
bishop feared lest, if made a presbyter, Origen would neglect his duties in the 
scliool. Those who believe fully what the ancients say of the envy of Deme- 
trius, may suppose that he was afraid that a man like Origen, long held in vene- 
ration, and superior to his bishop in many branches of learning, if made a pres- 
byter, would acquire too much influence ; or that, if authorized to preach in 
public, his eloquence would obscure the dignity and the fame of the bishop. 
On the other hand, Origen believed that his services and merits entitled him to 
promotion. Those who had presided over the catechetic school of Alexandria 
before him, Pantccnus, Clement, and doubtless others, had been made presby- 
ters ; and therefore he, being in no respect inferior to them, thought himself 
worthy of the same honor. But when he could not obtain from Demetrius the 
honor to which he felt himself entitled, he went away to Palestine, and at Ca3sa- 
rea imprudently obtained that honor from other hands. And hence those sad 
[p. 673.] scenes! Hence that wrath of Demetrius! — I will now show, from 
the circumstances of the case, as far as I can, that such were the facts. 

In the year 215, or a little after, a severe persecution under Caraealla hav- 
ing arisen at Alexandria, Origen, at that time about forty years old, sought 
safety in flight, and proceeding to Palestine, he took residence at Cresarea. 
There the bishops honored him, by allowing him to address the public assem- 
blies, and in the presence of the bishops. This gave offence to Demetrius. But 
the Palestine bisho-ps defended their proceeding, and told Demetrius, that it had 
long been customary among Christians for the bishops to invite those whom 
they knew to be fit persons to teach publicly, even if they had not been made 
presbyters. Whether Demetrius was satisfied with this excuse or not, is un- 
certain ; but this is certain, he not only wrote to Origen requn-mg him to return 
home and attend to the duties of his public office in Alexandria, but, as Origen 



Oricfcii's Controversies. 203 

perhaps* made some delay, lie sent deacons to Palestine to bring him back. See 
Evsehiim, (Hist. Ec'cles. L. vi. c. 19. p. 221, 222. Those facts show, I. That 
Ori^'-en, at that time, notwithstanding his reputation for eloquence, was debarred 
from the pulpit, or from preaching in public, by his bishop. II. That Deme- 
trius would not allow him to perform the functions of a public teacher, even 
among foreign churches ; doubtless, from a fear that he would insist on doing 
the same at Alexandria, and would thus open his way to the rank of a presby- 
ter. III. Yet he esteemed Origen very highly ; and he considered his labors 
not only useful, but even necessary, to the church of Alexandria. This appears 
from his desire, and even great earnestness, to have the man return home. 
For, as Origen did not at once obey the letter of recall, the bishop sent envoys 
to Palestine, to press him with arguments and persuasives on the subject. It 
seems, that Origen manifested a disposition to remain in Palestine, where he 
received greater honor from the bishops than he received at Alexandria ; but 
Demetrius thought the church of Alexandria could not part with so great a 
man without a serious loss. Perhaps also the deacons v.ho were sent to Pales- 
tine, were instructed to watch Origen, lest on his way he should do as he had 
done in Palestine, and by his preaching draw^ forth the admiration and respect 
of the people. Hence, IV. we may conclude, that Demetrius felt no envy 
against Orige» ; for if the virtues and the learning of the man had been annoy- 
ing to him, he would gladly have had him remain out of the country. Yet he was 
unwilling to enroll him among the presbyters of the Alexandrian church. And, 
undoubtedly, he did not follow the example of the Palestine bishops, and per- 
mit Origen to preach in public ; but, as Eusebiiis clearly intimates, he required 
him to devote himself wholly to the school. 

After a pretty long interval, — in the year 228, as learned men have sup- 
posed, — Origen again took a journey to Achaia ; not without the [p. 674.] 
knowledge and consent of Demetrius his bishop, as Photius affirms, (Biblio- 
theca, Cod. cxviii. p. 298.) but, as Jerome testifies, (Catal. Scriptor. Eccles. c. 54 
and 62.) with the consent of the bishop, and furnished by him with honorable 
testimonials, or an Episiola ecclesiastica. On this journey, as he was passing 
through Palestine, he was ordained a presbyter by his friends and admirers, 
Thcoctistus bishop of Ca3serea, and Alexander bishop of Jerusalem. (Eusehius, 
Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 8. p. 209; Jerome, CataL Scriptor. Eccl. c. 54; Phoiius, 
Bibliotheca, Cod. cxviii. p. 298.) — On hearing this, the wrath of Demetrius 
burst forth ; and he despatched letters through the Christian world, severely 
censuring both Origen and the bishops who ordained him. His allegation 
against Origen is stated by Eusehius. It was, that a man who had mutilated 
himself, though learned and of great merit, is unworthy of the priesthood ; 
and therefore, Origen had grievously sinned, by consenting to become a teacher 
in the church, while conscious of the crime he had formerly committed. It ap- 
pears that even then, voluntary eunuchs were excluded from the priesthood, if 
not by formal canons, (of which there is no certain evidence,) at least by 
common usage among Christians, For, unless we suppose this, we cannot un- 
derstand how Demetrius, a man of high character and well versed in ccclcsias- 
tical law, should venture, on this ground, to pronounce Origen unworthy of the 



204 Centimj III.— -Section 30. 

priestliood. But this stain upon the character of the pious and learned 
man, was not known by the bishops who ordained him. Therefore, as De- 
metrius assailed them also, accusing them of violating ecclesiastical law, we 
are obliged to suppose that their offence was of a different nature. What it 
was, no ancient writer has informed us ; but it may be inferred from what 
Jerome says, (Catal. Script. Eccl. c. G2.) namely, that Alexander, the bishop of 
Jerusalem, in reply to the accusation of Demetrius, alleged the honorable tes- 
timonials given by Demetrius to Origen on his setting out for Achaia. From 
this it is manifest, if I do not mistake, that Demetrius criminated tiie ordaining 
bishops, for admitting Origen to the Presbytersliip, without the knowledge and 
consent of Demetrius his bishop, and without consulting him in the matter. 
Alexander replied, that he and his associates looked upon the splendid testimo- 
nials of Demetrius which Origen carried with him, as supplying the place of an 
express consent ; and that they could not suppose a man so highly recom- 
mended by him, to be unworthy of the priesthood. How the business was 
conducted does not fully appear, on account of the silence of the ancient writers ; 
yet a careful attention may clear up much of the obscurity of the transaction. 
In the first place, I will cheerfully concede, that Origen himself did not request 
ordination from the Palestine bishops; but only did not refuse it, when offered 
[p. 675.] by them. And I have little difficulty in assigning a reason why they 
should wish to ordain him. They wished that Origen might publicly instruct 
Christians, and expound to them the holy scriptures, as he had done with great 
approbation during his former journey. But he, recollecting the great indigna- 
nation of Demetrius, when he had before allowed such functions to be assigned 
him, would not consent to their wishes, because he was not an ordained pres- 
byter. To remove this obstacle out of his way, the bishops declared their wil- 
lingness to ordain him ; and Origen consented. I am led to judge thus 
fiivorably of Origen's motives, by the exemplary piety of the man, and by the 
knowledge of human conduct; both of which require us, in a case of doubt 
and uncertainty, to prefer the most favorable opinion. And yet I think it mani- 
fest, that Origen despaired of obtaining ordination from the hands of Deme- 
trius, and at the same time desired, though modestly, to attain that honor. For, 
if he had either contemned the office of a presbyter, or had supposed he could 
obtain it from Demetrius, he would never, although urged to it, have consented 
to receive the office from these bishops. Being a sagacious man, he could easily 
foresee, that Demetrius would be offended with both him and the bishops, for 
the transaction was undoubtedly discourteous towards Demetrius. And the per- 
son wlio would incur the resentment of a powerful man, rather than not obtain 
a certain place, if he is not stupid or altogether thoughtless, shows that he has 
not a little desire for that place. As for Demetrius, though I admit that he 
showed neither prudence nor gentleness, nor a due regard for Origen's merits, 
yet I do not see how he can be charged with eniy. From this vicious state of 
mind he is sufficiently exculpated, first, by the noble testimonial of his affection 
and esteem for Origen, given him when he set out for Achaia; and he is still 
more proved innocent by the fact that, although offended with Origen, and be- 
lievinr*- that he had just cause for resentment, he nevertheless was not at all 



Origeiis Controversies. 205 

opposed to his return to Alexandria, and to his rosuniplion of his duties in the 
BL'liool. It is not usual lor the envious to wish thosf, whoso honors and tame 
they fear will injure them, to live by their side, and to till respectable and im- 
portant stations. Demetrius would have directed Origen to remain in Pales- 
tine, if he had supposed his new oflieial standing would cause a diminution of 
his own authority and fame. Nor is it an indication of envy, that he publicly 
professed to wish only for more prudence in the ordaining bishops, and more 
modesty in Origen, who had not resisted the proposal of his admirers. For 
this declaration nught have proceeded from other motives, either praiseworthy 
or censurable. 

The commotions originating from Origen's elevation to the priesthood, 
did not prevent his completing his begun journey to Achaia ; after [p. 676.] 
which he returned to Alexandria, and there resumed the duties of his office. 
Nor did Demetrius oppose his bearing the title and enjoying the rank of a pres- 
byter ; for if he had been so disposed, he could have degraded him. Nay, 
several learned men have thought, that Demetrius actually assigned him a place 
among the presbyters of his church. They conclude so, from the sentence 
pronounced against Origen by the emperor Justinian in the sixth century, in 
which he is expressly called a Presbyter ecclesicc AlexandriiKC. It is at least 
very probable, that Demetrius, either expressly or tacitly, allowed him to sit 
among the presbyters, provided he would continue to fulfil the duties assigned 
him in the Alexandrian school. — On returning to Alexandria in 228, Origen not 
only resumed his former labors, but he also commenced an exposition of the 
Gospel of St. John, (Origenes, Comra. in Johann. 0pp. tom. ii, p. 3. edit. Hue- 
tianse.) ; and also wrote other books, among which Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. L. vi. 
c. 24. p. 225.) mentions his celebrated work de Principiis. But in the midst of 
these labors, a new storm burst upon him ; at first, indeed, quite moderate and 
endurable ; for, (in tom. vi. in Johann. p. 94.) he writes : Jesus Christ rebuked 
the whids and the ivaves of the troubled sea ; and thus, even during the storm, he 
could carry forward his exposition of St. John as far as the fifth tome. Gra- 
dually, however, the storm increased in violence, and at last became so great, 
that in the year 231 he forsook Alexandria, leaving his school under the care of 
Heraclas, one of his earliest pupils, and retired to Cassarea among his friends. 
{Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. L. vi. c. 26. p. 228.) — Respecting his presbytership, there 
was no longer any contention ; so that there must have been some other cause 
of disagreement between him and Demetrius, which, unaccountably, neither 
his friends nor his enemies have stated, although they had abundant occasion to 
speak of it. For, what Epiphanius relates, (Hieres. Ixiv. c. 2.) that Origen 
■was so frightened by the threat of an atrocious insult to his person by an 
Ethiopian, that he consented to sacrifice to the Gods, — is very questionable ; 
and, if true, could not have produced the new contest between Demetrius and 
him after his return. This new contest lasted more than two years, as wc 
have already learned from Origen himself; and, being protracted through va- 
rious vicissitudes, Origen was able, during its continuance, to compose ^/?re of 
his tomes on the Gospel of John, besides other works. But if Origen had, un- 
willingly, paid some worship to the gods, and his bishop had accounted him a 



20G Century IIL—Scctioii 30. 

criminal for it, tlie whole matter iniglU have been speedily settled ; for Deme- 
trius had only to call a council, and debar the criminal from the sacred rites, 
which was the canonical punishment for those who sacrificed to the gods. But 
[p. 677.] tiie bisliop, though he harassed Origen, yet still allowed him to per- 
form his official duties, and even to retain the rank of a presbyter which he had 
acquired in Palestine. After surveying the whole case, and carefully weighing 
all the circumstances, I conclude the cause of disagreement was this: that Ori- 
gen, as he was an ordained presbyter, wished to enjoy all the prerogatives of a 
presbyter, to preach in public, to sit in the council of the presbyters, and to be 
rei-koncd as one of them ; but Demetrius was opposed to it. He admitted, in- 
deed, that Origen was a presbyter, at least nominally, and he would give him 
the title, but he would not allow him to address the people from the pulpit. 
Perhaps, also, as his feelings were now alienated from Origen, he frequently 
criticised and assailed the opinions which Origen advanced in the school and 
elsewhere, and his expositions of the scriptures ; while Origen defended those 
opinions and expositions against the bishop. 

However this may be, Origen being weary of the perpetual reproofs or in- 
juries he received from Demetrius, in order to enjoy more liberty and peace, re- 
linquished his employment in the year 231, and secretly retired to Palestine; 
where he w^as very cordially received by the bishops, and obtained all that had 
been denied him at Alexandria. After this his flight, Demetrius commenced a 
prosecution against him ; for previously he had not attempted, nor had been 
disposed to attempt, anything of the kind. — Eusebius, indeed, does not ex- 
pressly say that Origen left Alexandria secretly, and without the knowledge of 
Demetrius; on the contrary, he clearly states that, on leaving, he surrendered 
his office to Heradas. From both these circumstances learned men conclude, 
that Demetrius w^as neither ignorant of his design to leave Alexandria, nor dis- 
satisfied at his going. For if he had either not known of his going, or had 
been displeased w'ith it, would he have authorized him to transfer his school to 
another man, and one of his own selection ? — But here, undoubtedl}^ there is 
misapprehension. The circumstance omitted by Eusebius, is indicated by Ori- 
gen himself, (Coram, in Johann. tom. vi. p. 94.) where he compares his depar- 
ture from Egypt with the Exodus of the Hebrews, and says: Deum, qui popu- 
lum suuni ex ^gypto eduxit, se quoque ex servitute extraxisse. But nothing 
could have been more inapposite than such a comparison, if he had gone away 
with the free consent of Demetrius. And as to what Eusebius says of his 
transferring the Alexandrian school to Heradas, the language is pressed too far. 
For Eusebius does not say, that he commiUed or transferred his school to He- 
radas, but that he Ze/]: it to him : 'Hpax.\a JuS'aa-Kakiiov xAraKiirn. Scliolam Herache 
reUquii, (not, tradidit.) See Eusebius, (Hist. Eccles. L. vi. c. 26. p. 228.) He- 
raclas had been his colleague, and had taught the younger boys; and now Ori- 
gen left the school to his sole management. Origen's departure was therefore 
clandestine ; and his voluntary dereliction of an ofiice which for so many years 
he had usefully filled, roused the ire of Demetrius to such a pitch, that he de- 
[p. 678.] termined to punish him. He acted, indeed, in a manner unbecoming 
a bishop, and yet not without some semblance of justice. For the man who 



Orif/cn's Controversies. 207 

abandons an onicc committod to liim, without jL^iving notice, or saying any tlunt» 
to him from wliom he received it, appears to injure his patron nuiteiiully, and is 
quite culpable. Besides, this very indignation of DiMnetrius, though unjustilia- 
ble, proves him not guilty of that eiuy charged upon him. For it shows, that he 
was unwiliiiig to part with the services of Origen, that he felt most sensiblv the 
great loss, both to the church and the school ; but such feelings could not find 
a place in an envious mind. Demetrius envied the Palestinians thii pos:«es>ion 
of so great and so talented a man, but he did not envy Origen. 

Therefore, as it was the only way in which he could punish Origen fur the 
detriment to the church and the injury to himself, Demelrius summoned acoun- 
cil of bishops, with some presbyters. So .Photius states, from Pamphllus' 
Apology for Origen, (Bibliotheea, Cod. cxviii. p. 298 : Si/nodum episcoporum et 
presbijterorum qaonmdam). We may here notice, that Pamphilus applies tlie 
pronoun some, {quorumlam, Tirwy,) to the presbyters, but not to the buliops. 
Hence, if I can judge, Demetrius summoned all the bishops under his jurisdic- 
tion. And this construction is confirmed by what will soon be said respecting 
his second council. The reason why he snmtuoncd all the bishops of Egypt, 
but only some of the presbyters of Alexandria, will be obvious. He well knew, 
that most of the presbyters were favorable to Origen, their preceptor and friend, 
whom they admired for his piety; and, therefore, he summoned only such of the 
pre.-^byters, as he supposed were more attached to himself than to Origen. But 
the bishops had not been so intimate with Origen; and therefore, Demetrius 
hoped, with less difiieulty, to bring the majority of them to vote according to 
his wishes. But he was disappointed. For the major part of the council 
decided, as Photius informs us from Pamphilus, in the passage just mentioned : 
That Origen should be expelled fro?n Alexandria, (Alexandria quidera pellen- 
dum,) and should not be permitted to reside or teach there; but that he should not 
be degraded from the priesthood. Demetrius, who wished to have Origen degrad- 
ed, had expected a severer sentence. But, either Photius or Pamphilus, I think, 
must have stated the decision incorrectly. How, I ask, could these Christiim 
bishops, who were themselves scarcely tolerated in Alexandria and Egypt, and 
who had no influence or power whatever in the state — how could this despised and 
hated body of plebeians expel Origen from Alexandria, or send him into exile ? 
If those honest men had attempted it, they would have acted just about as 
wisely as the Quakers of London, or the Mennonitcs of Amsterdam would, if 
they should attempt to banish from their city some honorable and upright 
citizen: whicli all would regard as showing a lack of common sense, t [p. 679.] 
have, therefore, no doubt, that this council merely pronounced Origen unworthy 
of his post as a teacher in the school and dmrch of Alexandria. And such a 
sentence, in my opinion, would not have been altogether wrong or unjust. For 
the man who abandons his post, without the consent or knowledge of the i)er- 
son who placed him in it, is not unsuitably cut off from all Iiope of regaining it. 
And, perhaps, Origen himself would not have complained, if such a decision had 
been satisfactory to his adversary. But Demetrius thought, that this deserter of 
his post ought to be more severely punished. He, therefore, summoned another 
council. As P/ioa'i^s, avowedly copying from the Apology of Pamphilus, writes: 



208 Century IIL—Sectioii 30. 

Verum Demotrina una cum ^gypti episcopis aliquot, sacerdotio quoque ilium 
abjudicat, suhscribontibus etiain edicto liuic, quot([UOt antea sulfragati ei fuisBeni.. 
(But Demetrius, together with some bishops of Egypt, divested him also of the 
priesthood; and this decree, moreover, was subscribed by such as had before 
voted in his favor). — And here several things deserve notice, vviiich learned uien, 
in treating on the subject, pass by in silence. I. In this second council, only 
some {aliquot) of the Egyptian bishops were present. Therefore, in the former 
they all were present. That is, Demetrius excluded from the second council, 
those among the bishops who, in the first council, voted for the milder sentence, 
or were for sparing Origen. And hence it appears, that the decree of the first 
council was not passed unanimously, but only by a majority of the council. II. 
Tliere were no presbyters present in the second council. Hence it is manifest, 
that all the presbyters were in favor of Origen, and their zeal in his behalf 
caused the milder sentence to pass the council. They, doubtless, expatiated on 
the great merits of Origen, in regard both to the church universal, and to the 
church of Alexandria in particular ; and by such commendations they inclined 
the minds of a majority of the bishops to moderation. III. The bishops, who 
had voted for Origen in the first council, in acceding to the decree of the second 
council, changed their opinions, and came over to the deci>ion of Demetrius and 
his associates. And this is proof, tliat in the second council Demetrius assailed 
Origen on new grounds, and thereby strengthened his cause : and that the dis- 
senting bishops, in view of these new grounds, and being separated from the 
presbyters who had pleaded the cause of their preceptor and friend, concluded 
to yield the point. In the state of Christian affairs at that period, Demetrius 
could not have gained the votes of those bishops who favored Origen, by mena- 
ces and violence, nor by gifts and promises. It is, therefore, probable that De- 
metrius brought forward, and invidiously exposed the singular opinions of Ori- 
gen, and his strange interpretations of Scripture; and against this new charge, 
which was much graver than the former, the bishops, most of whom were not 
learned, and perhaps were among those who opposed the modifying of theology 
by philosophy, were unable to make resistance. That Origen was actually ac- 
cused and convicted of adulterating Christianity, at least in the second coun- 
[p. 680.] cil, is adequately proved, unless I greatly misjudge, from the single 
declaration of Jerorne, (in his Tract against Rujfinus, L. ii. c. 5.) that Origen 
was not only degraded from the priesthood, but was also excluded from the 
church. For in that age, no Christian was excommunicated and debarred from 
the church, unless he was either guilty of criminal conduct, or had injured the 
cause of religion by his errors. Of any criminal conduct, neither Demetrius nor 
any other person ever accused Origen. Consequently, we must believe, that 
this punishment was inflicted on him because of his novel and noxious opinions. 
He had already composed his well-known work, de Principiis, yet extant in La- 
tin, which is full of singular opinions, and of explanations of Ciiristian doctrines 
never before heard of. Nor could that book have been unknown at that time 
in Alexandria, the place where it was written. From this book, therefore, it is 
not improbable, Demetrius derived his allegations. — Nearly all the Christian 
churches approved the sentence passed upon Origen ; for Demetrius, by letters, 



Disputes on the Trinifj/. 209 

excited (hem ngainst liis adversary. But tliebishop^of the fou Asintie provin- 
CCS, Palestine, Phenicia, Acliaia, and Arabia, dissented ; and ncit. only permitted 
Ori<^en to live among- them liigiily respected, but also to have the liberty of 
teaching both publicly and pj-ivately. Nor is this very strange. For the bishops 
of Palestine, who were intimately connected with those of Phenicia, were the 
authors of thai which brought upon the good man all his troubles : that is, they 
ordained him presbyter. As to the churches of Arabia and Achaia, Origen had 
laid them under great obligations to him, by settling disputes among them, and 
by other kind olHces. — But this transaction, manifestly, contains a strong argu- 
ment against those who maintain that, in this third century, all Christendom was 
submissive to the authority and decisions of the Romish prelate. If this had 
been the fact, those bishops who honored and patronised Origen, would have 
ceased from being in communion with all other churches. And yet it is certain, 
that they were not at all criminated for relying upon their own judgment, rather 
than on that pronounced at Alexandria, and approved by the Romish prelate. 

§ XXXI. Disputes in the Church respecting the Trinity and the 
person of Christ. That authority, which Origen attributed to rea- 
son or philosophy — (for he held them to be the same thing) — over 
theology generally, was extended by others to certain parts of 
theology in particular, and especially to that part which distin- 
guishes in the Divine Nature three persons, the Father, the Son, 
and the Holy Spirit. Closely connected Avith this doctrine is, that 
concerning the origin and the dignity of Jesus Christ. As this 
division of the Divine ISTature, of which the Scriptures require a 
belief, may seem to disagree with what reason teaches [p. 681.] 
respecting the unity or oneness of God, various persons attempt- 
ed to so explain it, as to remove all disagreement between the- 
ology and philosophy. Those who engaged in this business, pur- 
sued various methods ; if, indeed, the ancients correctly appre- 
hended their views, which I must confess is very doubtful. 
Wherefore, about four different opinions may be produced, re- 
specting the Holy Trinity and the Saviour of mankind, advanced 
in this century. These opinions, all the prelates of the ago 
strenuously resisted, casting their authors out of the church. But 
they did not so combat these opinions as to exterminate the 
roots of the evil, and prevent the future rise of similar opinions. 
For, although they determined what should not be believed, re- 
specting God and Christ, and thus suppressed the rising errors; 
yet they did not determine, with equal care and clearness, what 
should be positively believed, and in what terms the Scriptural 
doctrine of three persons in one God should be expressed. And 

VOL. II. 15 



210 Ccntur]/ IIL—Sectlon 32. 

tliis enabled others, subsequently, and especially Arius^ to disturb 
the church with new explications of this doctrine.(') 

(1) Tiic prelates and councils condemned those who subverted the distinct 
tion of persons in the divine nature, and who maintained that God is altogether 
undivided. Thus they denied, that the Son and the holy Spirit are to be ex- 
cluded from the num!)er of the divine persons. Yet, to those who should ac- 
knowledge tlu-ec persons in God, great liberty remnined for disputing about the 
relations of these pci-sons to each other, tiieir origin, their dignity, and their 
parity or disparity ; and for explaining differently the nature, the offices, and 
the acts of the several persons. This liberty produced a great variety of 
opinions, and nfforded to those whose genius and inclination led them to subor- 
dinate revealed religion to reason, abundant opportunity for introducing their 
own fictions into the doctrine of the Trinity. Hence arose the rash attempts, 
not only of several individuals, whose efforts excited little attention, but especi- 
ally of Arius, whose most unhappy contests are too well known. At length, 
under Constantino the Great, the Nicene council abolished that liberty, the 
dangers of which were not foreseen by the ancients, and defined precisely, how 
the three divme persons are to be viewed, and in what terms men should speak 
of them. 

§ XXXII. The Noetian Controvcr.sy. At the head of those in 

this century, who explained the scriptural doctrine of the Father, 
Son, and holy Spirit, by the precepts of reason, stands Noetus of 
[p. 682.] Smyrna ; a man little known, but Avho is reported by 
the ancients to have been cast out of the church by presbyters, 
(of whom no account is given,) to have opened a school, and to 
have formed a sect.(') It is stated, that being Avholly unable to 
comprehend, hoAv that God who is so often in Scripture declared 
to be one^ and undivided, can, at the same time, be manifold; Noe- 
tus concluded, that the undivided Father of all things, united him- 
self with the man Christ, vras born in him, and in him suffered 
and died.(") On account of this doctrine, his followers "were 
called Patripassians ; which name, though not perfectly correct 
and appropriate, yet appears to be not altogether unsuitable or 
inappropriate.(') That Noetus and his followers believed as 
above stated, must be admitted, if Ave place more reliance on the 
positive testimony of the ancients, than upon mere conjecture, 
however plausible. 

(1) All that can be said of Noetus, must be derived from the three following^ 
writers: Ilippolyfus, (Sermo contra hoeresin Noeti; first published by Jo. Alb. 
Fabricins, Opp. Hippolyti, tom. ii. p. 5. &c. It had before appeared in Latin:) 
Epipkanius, (Hajres. L. vii. tom. i. p. 479.) and Theodore^ (Hseret. Tabular. L. iiL 



History of Noetus. oj| 

c. 3. 0pp. torn. iv. p. 227.) All that the oth(»r fathers state, (c. g. Axip:usL'me^ 
Philasiei; Darnasccnus,) is cither taken from the thi-cc above iiaiiuid, or is de- 
rived from those who resorted to these sources. Thcadorel is very brief: Hip. 
polyUis and Epiphanius are more full : both however, treat only of the principal 
tenet of Noetus, and that without method and clearness. They neither explain, 
accurately and distinctly, his erroneous sentiment; nor lucidly state either his 
conduct, or the proceedingrs of others against him. And hence, but little can bo 
said, either of Noetus or of his doctrine. That he lived in the third century, is 
certain ; but in wlint part of the century he disturbed the peace of the church, ia 
doubtful. Hippohj/its and TheodoreL say, he was n native of Smyrna; but Epi- 
phanius calls him an Epliesian. Perhaps he was born at Smyrna, but taught at 
Ephcsus. Whether he was a layman, or held some sacred otlice, no one has in- 
formed us. Both Hippolijius and Epiphanlits tell us, he had a brother; and Ihcy 
both represent him as so delirious, that he declared himself to be Moses, [p. 683.] 
and his brother to be Aaron. But that he was under so great infatuation, is in- 
credible; since these very men who (ax him with it, show, by their discussions, 
that he was no very contemptible reasoner. I can believe, that after his ex- 
clusion from the church, and when laboring to establish his new. sect, he com- 
pared himself with Moses, and his brother with Aaron; that is, he claimed, that 
God was using his and his brother's instrumentality, in the delivery of the Chris- 
tian people from bondage to false religious principles, as he formerly employed 
the services of Moses and Aaron in rescuing the Hebrews from bondage in 
Egypt. And this really invidious and uncivil language, these his enemies per- 
verted to a bad sense, thinking perhaps that he would gain few or no adherents, 
if he could be made to appear insane or crazy. — The blessed preshyiej's (ot fAAna- 
fioi rfi^SuTipoi) of the church to which he belonged, when they found that he 
taught diffcrenfly from them respecting the person of Christ, required him to give 
account of himself in an assembly of the church. He dissembled concerning his 
views, which, at tiiat time, only he and his brother cherished. But after a while, 
having gained a number of followers, he expressed his sentiments more boldly. 
And being again summoned before a council, together with those whom he had 
seduced into error, and refusing to obey the admonitions of the presbyters, he 
and his adherents were excluded from the communion of the church. Thus Hip- 
polylus and Epiphanius both state. Epiphanius alone adds, that Noetus and his 
brother both died, not long after this sentence upon them ; and that no Christian 
would bury their bodies. In this there is nothing hard to be believed, nothing 
inconsistent with the common custom of Christians. But I wonder, they should 
not tell us where these things occurred; I also wonder, that only the blessed pres- 
byters are named as the judges, and no mention made of a bishop. Some may, 
perhaps, infer that Noetus himself was the bishop of the place where the 
business was transacted. But the usage of the ancient church did not give pres- 
byters the power of trying and deposing their bishop. I would therefore sug- 
gest, that there may have been no bishop at that time in the place where Noetus 
lived. This conjecture is not free from difliculties, I confess; but it has fewer 
than the former supposition. — Lastl}', it should not be omitted, that Theodoral^ 
and he only, states that Noetus was not the original author of the doctrine fox 



212 Century Ill.—Scction 32. 

which he was punished; but that he only brought forward an error, which before 
him one Epigonus had broached, and one CZwmenes confirmed; and which, after 
the death of Noetus, one Ca//is/ws continued to propagate. 

(2) The ancients are agreed, tiiat Noetus, while he conceived that the doc- 
trine taught by the Church could not be reconciled with those texts of Scripture, 
which deny that there are any gods b"side the one God, the Parent of all things, 
(Exod. iii. 6. and xx. 3. Isa. xlv. 5. Baruch iii. 36. Lsa. xlv. 14. — for both HippO' 
lytus and Epiphanius distinctly tell us, that it was on these texts he based his 
doctrine,) — while Noetus thus conceived, and yet could not doubt at all, that 
Christ is called God in the sacred Scriptures, he fell into the belief that the one 
[p. 684.] supreme God, who is called the Father of mankind and especially of 
Christ, took on himself human nature, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and, 
by his sufferings and death, made atonement for the sins of men. Ilippolylus 

(SermO in Noet. ^ 1.) says: *£?« tov XP^*^"^"" avrdv iivui rdv nuripa, Kai 
dvrdv ToV raTtfa yiyivvyi(r^ai yai Treirovd'aai Kui aTroTtd-VifKivai. Dixit Chris- 
tum eundem esse pntrem, ipsumque patrem genitum esse, passum et mortuum. 
According to Epiphanius, Noetus replied to the reproofs of the presbyters, by 
saying: Quid mali feci ? Unum Deum veneror, unum novi, (xat ct;» aWov v>,»r 
uuTGVy ytwud-'ivra, TTiTTovd-cniLy dTTo^dvovTa,) nec praeter ipsum alterum natum, pas- 
sum, mortuum. And a little after, he makes the Noetians say: o'w roW'.ix 

©tovc \iyofJ(.ivy cXX' ha ©«dv d^rstS-if, durdv traripa tov viovy dvrdv ddv, x.ai 7ri~ 

frovQ-ora. Noii plures Deos affirmamus, sed unum duntaxat Deum, qui et pati 
nihil possit, et idem filii pater sit, ac filius, qui passus est. But Theodcrel the 
most explicitly of all expresses their dogma, (whose words I give only in 
Latin, for the sake of brevity,) thus: Unum dicunt Deum et patrem esse -- non 
apparentera ilium, quando vult, et apparentem, cum voluerit-- genitum et in- 
genitum, ingenitum quidem ab initio, genitum vero, quando ex virgine nasci 
voluit; impassibilem et imraortalem, rursusque patibilem et mortalem. Tmpas- 
sibilis enim cum esset, crucis passionem sua sponte sustinuit. (He adds :) Hunc 
et filium appellant et patrem, prout usus exegerit, hoc et illud nomen sortien- 
tem. What Epiphanius tells us, viz. that the Noetians made Christ to he. both 
the Father and the Son; or as Theodoret expresses it. They called Christ both the 
Son and the Father, as the occasion required; — This, both the ancients and the 
moderns have understood in a worse sense, than was necessary. For they tell 
us, that Noetus believed the Father and the Son to be one and the same person; 
tliat this person bore the name of Father, before he connected himself with the 
man Christ; but took the title Son, after his union with the man Christ: so that 
he could be denominated both the Father and the Son, being the Father if view- 
ed in himself and apart from Christ, but being the Son if viewed as coupled with 
the man Christ. From this exposition of his views, consequences are frequently 
drawn which are discreditable to the reputation and talents of Noetus. But such 
were not the views of Noetus; as an attentive reader may learn from the very 
confutations of them. He distinguished the person of the Father from that of 
the Son : the Father is that supreme God who created all things ; the Son of God 
is the man Christ, whom he doubtless called the Son of God, emphatically, be- 
cause of his miraculous procreation from the virgin Mary. The Father, when 



Opinions of Noetus. 213 

joined to this Son, did not lose the name or the dignity of tlie Father; nor waa 
he properly made the Son : rather, lie remained, and will ever remain, the Fa- 
ther; nor can he change either hi^ name or his nature. Yet, inasmuch [p. 685.] 
as the Father is most intimately joined to the Son, and become one person with 
him; therefore the Father, although his nature is distinct from the nature of the 
Son, can, in a certain sense, be called the Son. And thus Noiitus uttered no- 
thing more absurd, than we do when we say, in accordance with the Holy Scrip- 
tures, God is a man : a man is God : God became man : a man became God. He 
only substituted the names Father and .So;?, in place of the terms GoJ and man. 
And his propositions, The Father is the Son, and the Father became the Son, are 
equivalent with ours, God is a man, God became man ; and they must be explain- 
ed in the same manner in which ours are explained, namely, as the result of 
what we call the hypostatic union. The only difference between him and us, was, 
that he, by the Father, understood the whole divine nature, wliich he considered 
incapable of any division ; we, by God, intend a divine person distinct from the 
person of the Father. The idea which he annexed to the word Son, was the 
same as that we annex to the word man. It is certainly altogether false, that 
Noetus and all those called Patripassians believed, (what we find stated in so 
many books as unquestionable,) that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit 
are only three designations of one and the same person. According to the ap- 
prehensions of this sect, the Father is the name of the ditine person or God, the 
Son is the name of the human person or the man. As to the Holy Spirit, none 
of the ancients inform us, what were the views of Noetus. Yet from his deny- 
ing that God is distributed into three persons, it must be manifest, that he viewed 
the term Holy Spirit not as the name of a divine person, but as designating either 
a divine energy, or some nature distinct from God. 

Therefore the system of Noetus, so far as it can novv be ascertained from the 
writings of the ancients, was this. I. Very explicit declarations of Scripture put 
it beyond all question, that, besides that God who is called the Father of all 
things, there are no Gods. 11. But those who distinguish three persons in God, 
multiply Gods, or make more than one God. 111. Therefore that distinction of 
persons in God, must be rejected as being false. IV. Yet the Holy Scriptures 
clearly tench, that God was in Christ, and that Christ was the supreme God, from 
whom all things originated. V. To bring the two representations into harmony, 
therefore, we must believe, that the God who is in Christ, is that supreme God 
whom the Scriptures call the Father of mankind. VI. This Father, in order to 
bring relief to fallen men, procreated from the virgin Mary, a man free from all 
sin, who in a peculiar sense is called the Son of God. VJI. Thatwa??, the father 
60 united with himself, as to make of himself and the Son but one person. VIII. 
On account of this union, w'hatever befel or occurred to that <Son or that divinely 
begotten man, may also be correctly predicated of the Father, who took him into 
society with his person. IX. Therefore the Father, being coupled with the Son, 
was born, suffered pains, and died. For although the Father, in himself [p. 686.] 
considered, can neither be born, nor die, nor suffer pains; yet, as he and the Son 
became one person, it maybe said, that he was born and died. X. And for the 
same reason, the Father being present in the Son, although he remains still the 
Father, he may also be correctly called the Son. 



214 Cejitury Ill.—Section 32. 

This system subverts indeed the mystery of the Holy Triniiy,h\it it does no 
injury to the person or to the offices of Christ the Saviour, and it is much prefe- 
rable to the Soeinian scheme and its kindred systems. Moreover, it is no more 
contrary to renson, than the system which supposes a divine person to have 
united himself with the man Ciirist; nay, in more consistency with reason, it 
seems to establish the perfect simplicity of the divine nature. But there are 
some men of high cliaracter, who can hardly persuade themselves, th;it Noctiia 
believed what I have stated: And they prefer the supposition, that Noetus did 
not differ greatly from those commonly cal' /d Unitarians : that is, that he be- 
lieved it was not the Father himself, but only some virtue from the Father, that 
entered into the man the Son. But I do not perceive that they adduce any ar- 
guments, which compel us to believe tliat the ancients did not understand his 
principles. What they tell us, that SabeUius was a disciple of Noetus, and that 
therefore the system of the latter must be explained as coinciding with Sabel- 
lianism, is of no weight : for, — not to urge, that iu regard to the real opinions of 
Sabellius there is very great debate, — only Augustine and Philaster tell us that 
Sabellius was a disciple of Noetus; and the testimony of these men, who lived 
long after the times of Noetus, and frequently made mistakes, is not worthy of 
as much confidence, as that of those Greeks who lived earlier, and who knew no- 
thing of Sabellius' being a disciple of Noetus. — Quite recently, an ingenious man, 
who is well rend in Christian antiquities, Isaac de Beausobre, (Histoire de Mani- 
ehee, vol. T. p. 534.) thinks he has found a strong argument against the common 
explanation of Noetus' system, in the confutation of that system by EfiphaniuSy 
(Hseres. Ivii. p. 481.) For Epiphanius there states, that Noetus held God to be 
(dTa3-ii) impassible and Feausobre thence concludes, with much confidence, that 
Noetus could not, without consummate folly, have at the same time believed that 
God suffered in the person of Christ : because, to suffer -Awd to be inr.apable of suf- 
fering, are directly opposite and contradictory ideas.* But this objection is solved 
by the passage before cited from Theodoret, in which he says the Noetians pro- 
nounced one and the same Father or God, to be impassible in one sense, namely, 
considered solely in his divine nature; but in another sense passible, on account 
of his union with tha human nature of the Son. It is strange that this worthy 
man should not reflect, that this very thing, which he calls consummate folly, 
[p. 687.] the great body of Christians daily profess; namely, that God who from 
his nature cannot suffer, yet did, in Christ, suffer those penalties which men 
owed to God; that is the sufferings of Christ's human nature are predicable of 
God who wns joined to that nature by an intimate and indissoluble union? — But 
what need is there of protracted arguments! If I do not wholly mistake, it is 
manifest from the texts of Scripture by which Noetus supported his opinion, 
that the ancients did not misapprehend his views. In the first place, as we are 
told by Hippolytus and Epiphanius, he quoted the words of Paul, (Rom. ix. 5.) 

* To show with what assurance this learned man expresses himself, I will subjoin 
Ills own words, (p. 534.) A moins que Noet et ses sectateurs ne fussent des foux a 
loger aux pctites maisons, ils n'ont jamais dit, qu'uu seul et meme Dieu — est impassi- 
ble et a souffert. 



ScfbelHus and the SahclUans. 215 

Wlinsc are llic. fathers, and of ichom as concerning (hejlesh Christ came, ivho is-- 
Gnd blessed fur ever, 'i'liese words drive .'i niun into dillicultics, who iiKiiiilnina 
that only a cert-iin divine energy wns imparted to Christ; but they Jippear to aid 
those, who maintain that Gud the Father, personally, was in Christ. And Noetus 
thus argued from this passage : If Christ is God blessed for ever, then unduubt- 
cdly, thai God, beside whom there is no other, and who is wholly indivisible, 
dwelt in Christ, lie also applied to his own doctrine those words of Christ, 
(John X. 30.) / and the Father are o?/e ; and those addressed to Philip, (John 
xiv. 9. ][.) He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. Believest thou not that 1 am 
in the Father, and the Father in mel Both these passages stand much in the way 
of those, who believe that only some energy, emanating from the Father, animat- 
ed Christ the ambassador of God: but they can be very serviceable to those who, 
with Noetus, suppose that the person of God the Father became blended with 
the human nature of Christ so as to make but one person. 

(3) The appellation Patripassians, which the early Christian writers applied to 
both the Noetians and the Sabellians, is ambiguous, or does not express with 
sufficient precision the error which those sects are said to have embraced. For 
the term Father, as used in treating of God, had one meaning among orthodox 
Christians, and another among the Noetians. The former understood by the 
term Father, the first person of the divine essence; but the latter, the Noetians, 
who supposed that to admit of persons in God, would conflict with his unity, 
intended by the term Father, the supreme Deity who is altogether indivi.Mble, 
or the whole divine nature. And, therefore, when a person hears them called 
Patripassians, he is linble, by taking the word Father {Pater) in its common 
acceptation among Christians, to f;ili into the belief, that they supposed it was 
not the Son, the second person of the divine nature, but the first person, who 
bore the penalties of our sins, which would be a mistake ; yet it is a mistake 
into which many fall, being deceived by the ambiguity of the term. But if we 
affix to it the Noetian sense of the word Father, then the appellation Patripas- 
sians will be a suitable one for the sect. The appellation was devised for the 
sake of exciting a prejudice against the Noetians; and such is generally the 
fault ill all such appellations. 

§ XXXIII. Sabellius and the Sabellians. After the mid- [p. 688.] 
die of this century, Sabellius, art African bishop, or presb^'ter, of 
Ptolemais, the capitol of the Pentapolitan province of Libya Cyre- 
naica, attempted to reconcile, in a manner somewhat different from 
that of iVoc/ws, the scriptural doctrine of Father, Son, and holy Spirit, 
with the doctrine of the unity of the divine nature. As the error of 
SahcUius infected several of the Pentapolitan bishops, and perhaps 
some others, Diomjsius, the l)ishop of Alexandria, assailed it both 
orally and by writing ; but he was not able to eradicate it en- 
tirely. For, from unquestionable testimony, it appears that, in 
the fourth and fifth centuries, there were Sabellians in various 



216 Century III.— Section 33. 

places.(') The doctrine of Sahellius was not identical witli that 
of Noctus ; for the former did not hold, as the latter appears to 
have done, that the person of the supreme Deity, which he con- 
sidered perfectly simple and indivisible, assumed the human na- 
ture of Christ into union with himself; bat that only an energy 
or virtue, emitted from the Father of all, or, if you choose, a ^jwr- 
ticle of the person or nature of the Father, became united with the 
man Christ. And such a virtue or particle of the Father, he also 
supposed, constituted the holy Spirit. Hence, when the ancients 
call Sahellius and his disciples Patripassians, the appellation must 
be understood differently from what it is when applied to Noetus 
and his followers.(") 

(1) The name of Sahellius is of much more frequent and marked notice, in 
the writings of the ancients, than the name of Noelus. Nor is he mentioned 
solely by those who treat expressly of the sects in the early ages, viz. Epipha- 
nius, Augustine, Theodoret, Damascenus, Philastcr, and the others; but there is 
frequent mention of him also, by those who contended with the Arians and the 
other corrupters of the doctrine of three persons in God, and by those who ex- 
pounded the true doctrine concerning God and Christ. Nevertheless, the his- 
tory of Sahellius is very brief: and his views of God and Christ are stated 
variously, both by the ancients and moderns. — The place where he lived can be 
fully ascertained from Dionijsius, Eusehius, Athanasius, and many others ; but 
of his station, his conflicts, and his death, we are left in ignorance. Gregory 
Abulpharagius (in his Arabic work, Historia Dynastiar. p. 81.) says that he was 
a preshijler ; which, perhaps, was the fact : but what is added, that he held this 
office at Byzantium, is certainly ftilse. Zonaras, (Interpretatio Canonum,) if my 
memory is correct, calls him a bishop. Which of these authorities is to be 
[p. 689.] believed, does not appear. — That his error spread widely, and not only 
in Pentapolis, but elsewhere, and particularly in Egypt ; and that therefore, Dio- 
nysius of Alexandria elaborately confuted and repressed it, is fully stated by 
Athanasivs, (in his work, de Sententia Dionysii, of which we sjiall speak iiereafter,) 
and more concisely by Eusehius, (Hist. Eecles. L. vii. c. 6. p. 252). And it is no im. 
probable supposition, that Dionysius held a council at Alexandria against Sabel- 
lius. The zeal of Dionysius may have driven the Sabellians from Libya and 
Egypt. But in the fourth century, according to Epiphanius, (Haeres. Ixii. ^ 1. 
p. 513.) the Sabellians were considerably numerous in Mesopotamia, and at 
Rome. And in the fifth century, the abbot Eulhymius, (as stated in his life, 
written by C^n7 of Scytopolis, and published by Jo. Bapl. Cotelier, in his Mo- 
num. Ecclesire Graecac, torn, iv, p. 52.) boldly assailed tou la^iWiou a-waipariy, 
{Sahellii conjunclionem,) i. e. the Sabellian doctrine which confounds or com- 
bines the Father and tiie Son. — There is extant a Historia Sabelliana, by Chris- 
tian Wormius, published at Leips. ir»96, 8vo. It is a learned work, and useful 



Opinions of SahcUius. 217 

in researches into the early liistory of Christianity ; but only a very small part 
of it relates to Sabcllius. 

(2) Respecting the real sentiments of Sabellius, there is great disagreement 
among learned men. The majority say: He tanght that the Father, ISon, and 
holy Spirit, are only three nar f.s of the one God, originating from the diversity 
of his acts and operations: that he is called the Father, when he performs the 
appropriate works of a Father, such as procreating, providing, cherishing, nour- 
ishing, and protecting; that he is called the Son, when operating in the Son, 
and thereby accomplishing what was necessary for the salvation of mankind; 
and that he is called the holy Spirit, when he is considered as the souive of all 
virtue and sanctilication. This exposition of his views, is supported by numer- 
ous passages from the ancients, who say that Sabellius taught that the Father 
himself bore the penalties of the sins of mankind; whence he and his disciplea 
were denominated Palripassians. .This opinion, Christian Worm, in his JiiUO' 
ria Sabelliana, supports with all the arguments and auihorities he can com- 
mand. But others, relying chiefly on the authority of Epiphanius, maintain 
that the ancients misunderstood Sabellius ; that he did not hold the Father, 
Son, and holy Spirit, to be only three appellations of the one God, as acting in 
different ways : but that he believed the Father to be truly God, in whom is no 
division ; and the Son to be a divine virtue, descending from the Father upon 
the man Christ, so that he might be able to work miracles, and to point out 
correctly the way for men to be saved; and that he believed the holy Spirit to be 
another ray or virtue from the divine nature, moving the minds of men and ele- 
vating them to God. And on this ground, tliey conclude that there was a great 
difference between the doctrine of Sabellius and that of Noelus, already de- 
scribed ; and that the name of Palripassians was inapplicable to Sabellius, because 
he did not teach that the Father, or God, suffered penalties, but only some [p. 690.] 
virtue, proceeding from the Father, was present with the man Christ, and aided 
hira when he bore our penalties. And they say that the doctrine of Sabellius 
did not differ greatly from that which is maintained by the Socinians. — Thua 
have thought, besides others of less fame, Alexander Moras, (in cap. liii. 
Esaiae, p. 7, and in Observat. in N. T. pp. 81, 82. ed. Fabrici.) Isaac de Bcauso- 
hre, (Histoire de Manichee, vol. i. p. 633, &c.) and Simon de Vries, (Dissert, de 
Priscillianistis, Traj. 1745, 4to. p. 35, 36). But de Vries, if I mistake not, has 
merely transcribed from Beausohre, without naming him. — After very carefully 
comparing and pondering the statements of the ancients, I have concluded, that 
those err who make the Sabellian doctrine and that of Noelus to be the same ; 
but those also are deceived, to some extent, vvho deny that the Sabellians could, 
with any propriety, be called Patripassians by the ancients, declaring that they 
were very much like the Socinians, and that if the statements of Epiphanius are 
compared with those of the earlier writers, the whole controversy will be set- 
tled. — I will now state, as carefully and perspicuously as I can, what appears to 
me true in reg.ird to this subject. 

1. That fear, lest God, who as both reason and the Scriptures tench is a per- 
fectly -simple unity, should be rent into a plurality of God.s, which influenced 
Noelus, likewise induced Sabellius to deny the distinction of persons in the di- 



218 Century III.— Section 33. 

vine, nature, and to maintain that there is only one divine person, or vn-o^TaTn. 
And hence, according to Epiphanius, (Haercs. Ixii. ^1, p. 504.) whenever the 
Sabellians fell in with unlearned persons, whom they hoped easily \a i-onverf, 
they proposed to them this one question: Tl duv eiirwuiv, ha Qiov txoy-tv, » nrplit 
Qioiii i What then shall we say ? Have we one God^ or three Gods I 

II. But wliile Sabellius maintained tiiat there was but one divine person, 
he still believed the distinction of Father, Son, and holy Spirit, described in the 
Scriptures, to be a real distinction, and not a mere appellalice or w.minal one. 
That is, he believed the one divine person whom he recognised, to liave three 
di^^tinct/orm.s, which are really different, and wiiich should n(;t be confounded. 
This remark is of the greatest importance to a correct understanding of Sabel- 
lius' doctrine; and it ought, therefore, to be accurately substantiated. The first 
witness I adduce is Arnobius — not the elder Arnobius, who lived in this third 
century, and wrote the Libri vii. contra Gentes, but Arnobius, junior — a writer 
of the tifth century, w-hose work, entitled Conflictus de Deo uno et trino cum 
Serapione, was published by Francis Feuardent, subjoined to the works of Ire- 
nteus. Though he lived long after Sabellius, he is an author of much import- 
ance on this subject, because he gives us statements from a work of Sabellius 
himself, which he had before him. He makes Serapion say, (in FeuardenCs 
edition of Irenseus, Paris, 1675, Fol. p. 620) : Ego tibi Sabellium lege, (Serapion, 
therefore, must be considered as holding in his hand some book of iSabeUius^ 
[p. 691.] from which he read,) anathema dicentem his, qui Patrem, et Filinm et 
Spiritum sanctum esse negarent, ad convincendam Trinitatem. Serapion had be- 
fore said: In Sabellii me insaniam induxisti, qui unum Deum, Patrem et Filinm 
et Spiritum sanctum confitetur. And when Arnobius had replied: Sabellium 
negare Filium et Spiritum sanctum ; that is, that Sabellius taught that the Son 
and the holy Spirit are nothing different from the Father, Serapion produced 
an actual w^ork of Sabellius, and showed from it that Sabellius did not maintain 
what Arnobius asserted, or did not confound the Son and holy Spirit with the 
Father, but clearly discriminated the two former from the latter. Arnobius, on 
hearing this, yields the point, or admits that it is so ; but still he maintains, that 
there is a wide difference between the doctrine of Sabellius and that of oiher 
Christians; because the latter believed the Son to be begotten by tlie Father, 
which Sabellius denied : Nos autem Patrem dicimus et credimus, qui genui I Fi- 
lium, et est Pater unici sui Filii ante tempora geniti. And this is a just repre- 
sentation : for although Sabellius made a distinction between the Father and 
the Son, yet he would not admit that the Son was a divine person, liegol/en by 
the Father. From this passage, therefore, it is manifest: (a) That Sabellius 
held to a Trinity, (b) That he anathematised those who denied the Father. Son, 
and holy Spirit, or a Trinity. Whence it follows, that (f) Sabellius lield to a 
real, and not a mere nominal distinction between the Father, Son, and holy 
Spirit. Had he supposed the terms Father, Son, and holy Spirit, were three 
names of the one supreme Deity, there would have been no ground for his ana- 
thema. For there never was, and never can be, a single Christian who denies 
that these terms occur in the Bible, and are there applied to God. It is un- 
questionable, both from the course of the argument, and from the nature of the 



opinions of SaheUlus. 219 

case, lliat Sibellius condemned tliose who coinmingl(.'d andconfounded tlic Fo- 
tluT, Son, and Imly 8i)irit. But, most certainly, theij do confonnd the Trniily, 
wlio make the Father, Son, and holy Spirit, to ditVer in iiothin<i^ bnt in name. 
ThLMctori', it was such persons that Sabellius anathematised. — A second vvilnesa 
come>i forward, viz, Basil the Great; who, although he sometimes seems to fa- 
vor iho-e who held that Sabellius tanght a nominal dislinctiou in the Trinity, 
yet, in two passages shows, not obscurely, that Sabellius held to some real dis- 
tineliou in God. One of the passages i-, (Epist. cc.x. Opp. torn. iii. p. 317. edit 

Bv-'Uedict.) : ^Avjnita-TaTOv TU)V irpoTioitoiv dv-x ■i:\aTfxdvy ou tTt o ia/SiXX/of rrafwrxVaTo, 
eiTioVy Tov duTov Qiof e>'o rtf Cv ox.it fAcvcfi SjTa, tt^oj Taf in-dcmTi TrafaTiTTTiwai 
vcftjj fAiTay.op<f>ivi/.ivoVy vv/ (Atv wf TraTcia, vZv S'i wj vtoVy vZv S't w; irviZfJa aytov 

J'^a\e}i7d-a'.. lllud iiyposlasi carens personarum commontum ne Sabellius qui- 
dem rc'j.'cit, quippe cam dicat eundem Deum, cum subji'cto unus sit, pro occur- 
renlibus subinde occaaionibus trani-formatum, modo ut Patrem, modo ut Filium, 
moilo nt Spiri um sanctum locjui. The other pas.^age is (Epist. ccxxxv. p. 364.) : 
2aSi;XXtoff TroWa^ov (Tuy^icov rtiv ivvoiaVy eni^tipli S^tatfilv to. irpoiro-rray -^nv dDri^i 
vTr-jTrara \iyoii irfoi t,)v \<La7T0Ti TTapiUTrUrova-av X?^^'^^ /uira^nuar ii^ar- [p. C92.] 

^ai. Sabellius, tamotsi confundit nolionem (Dei), tamen sape conatur personaa 
distinguere, dum hypostasin eamdem ait pro usu subinde occurrente varias per- 
sonas induere. Basil, indeed, speaks less clearly than I could wish, on this very 
obscure subject. But this is plain enough, that the Trinity of Sabellius was 
not merely nominal or verbal. For while he maintained that there was but one 
•person {v7roC<rTX<ni) in God, he yet held that there are three (Tr/JoVwn-a) formZy or 
aspects of the one God, and that he assumes the one or the other of these forms, 
according to the state of things. But divers/orm.s of one and the same being, 
however they may be considered, involve some real distinction, and cannot be 
confounded wilh different appellations for the same thing. But nothing will 
better elucidate and confii-m my po>i;ion, than the comparison by which the Sa- 
bellians were accustomed to illustrate their doctrine concerning the Father, Son, 
and holy Spirit, as it is stated by Epiphanius, (Hceres. l\ii. p. 513). Having 
stated the Sabellian doctrine in the common form: Xivai Iv (aU C^oTTa^rn Tpui 
cvoLiaTiaiy there are three appellations in one person; he proceeds to show that 
this language must not be construed too rigidly, by saying : Q'j iv dvd-puzft 

c-uf^ay xui 4^^/^^' '^^^ TTvlvfA.a- Kai bivsLt fj.iv To <ru)/uay wj Ifrruv rdv TraTtpa, -^v^ny 
Si (Lj il"Hv Toi i/iox, To irnufJia Si wf d»'-3"OwToy, • owTcj? xai To 'dyiov TrVtu/ua iv 

Tn edTun. Patrem, Filium, Spiritum sanctum sic se habere in Deo quemad- 
moduin in homine corpus, nnimam et spiritum ; corporis instar Patrem, aniraaj 
Filium, Spiritum denique sanctum in Divinitate instar spiritus se habere. Com- 
parisons, undoubtedly, are not to be pressed too far; but this one would lose 
every shadow of likeness and similarity, and would become a dissimilarity rather 
than a similarity, if Sabellius had taught only a Trinity of ?iames or words. If 
the difference between the Father, Son, and holy Spirit, is the same — I do not 
say altogether, bnt only in part — as that between the hoJy, the rational soul or 
spirit, and tiie sentient soul in man ; then, necessarily, the Father, Son, and holy 
S|)irit, must differ really from each other. Sabellius, therefore, believed that^aa 
a man is but one perso.iy and yet in his one person three things may be discrimi* 



^20 Century III.— Section, 33. 

nated, not m thought only, but as having a real existence, namely, tlie body, tho 
souU and the spirit, so, also, although there is but one undi\ided person in God, 
yet in that person, the Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit can be discriminated, 
not in thought only, but they must be really discriminated and kept disliiict. — 
Other testimonies will occur as we proceed. 

III. As Sabellius held to the simple unity of the person and nature of God, 
and yet supposed the Father, Son, and holy Spirit, to dilfer really from each 
other, and not to be three na?nes of the one God, acting in different ways ; we 
are obliged to believe, that he considered the Father, Son, and holy Spirit, as 
[p. 693.] being three portions of the divine nature, severed, as it were, from God, 
and differing from each other, yet not subsisting as three persons, but all de- 
pendent on the one individual divine nature. And therefore God, when about 
to create the universe, did not put his whole person in action, but he sent out a 
portion of his nature, by which he accomplished his design. And this portion of 
the Divinity is called the Father ; becaus-e, by its agency, God has become the 
parent ofall things, or procreates, sustains, cherishes, and governs all. This Fa- 
ther produced Christ in the womb of the virgin Mary, and for that reason is em- 
phatically Chrisfs Father ; and Christ is called the Son of God, because he 
holds the relation of a Son, in regard to this divine energy. Again, when the 
same God would «-eclaim to himself the human race by Christ, he sent forth 
another portion of himself, whicii, being united to Christ, is called tlie Son; be- 
cause he resides in the Son of God, and by that Son teaches and works, and, in 
a certain sense, makes one person with the Son. Lastly, God sent out a third 
particle of his nature, periectly separate from the two former, by which he ani- 
mates the universe, Jind enlightens, excites, and regenerates the minds of men. 
This portion of God is called the holy Spirit ; because, like a wind, he excites 
and produces holy movements in men. 'J'he three forms, or three irfoToiira of 
God, therefore, y.':cording to Sabellius, were neither three qualities of the divine 
nature, {existencf-, toisc?ow2> and life; as Abulpkaraius supposed, Historia Dynast. 
p. 81.) nor three modes of acting, nor three appellations of the one God ; but 
they were parts or portions, rent, indeed, in a sence from God, and yet in another 
sense connected with him. — This exposition is compatible with that celebrated 
comparison taken from the sun, which Epiphanius mentions, and which had led 
Fome worthy men to make the Sabellians agree with the Socinians. Epiphanius 
(Uteres. Ixii. p. 513.) says, that the Sabellians were accustomed to explain 
their doctrine by a comparison with the sun, thus : In the sun there is but 07ie 
suistance, (f^ta CirirTaa-n,) but there are three powers, (tvffytiai,) namely, (t« 
9cjTi7T(Kcv, TO d-a\Tdv, TO TTf^KptoHas ^x^if^a,) the illiiminatinfr power, the warm- 
ing poiver, and the ciicular form. Tiie warming power answers to the holy 
Spirit; the illuminating power, to the Son ; and the form or figure, (to ItJ'oc,) 
to the Father. This representation seems in itself to favor the opinions of those 
who make Sabellius discard all real distinctions in the divine nature. But Epi- 
phanius explains the comparison in a manner that makes it apparent, that Sa- 
bellius did not intend, by this new comparison, to subvert his former compari- 
son, taken from the soul, body, and spirit in a man. For he adds, that the Son 
was sent out like p. ray from the Father, to perform what was requisite for the 



Opinions of SaheUius. 221 

flalvation of mankind, and, h:iving accomplished the business, returned again to 
heaven; and that the holy Spirit also, in like manner, should be viewed as some- 
tiiing sent into the world. Now, whatever is sent forth from God, and after- 
wards returns to God, must undoubtedly be something actually separate in some 
way from the divine nature: because, it could not possibly return hack [p. 694.] 
to God, unless it had departed and been separated from God. — Let no one trou- 
ble himself with the dilliculties whicli this dogma involves; for the question is, 
not how wisely Sabellius reasoned, but what distinction he made between the 
Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit. 

IV. Therefore, although the ancients sometimes speak as if they would re- 
present Sabellius to believe that the Father, Son, and holy Spirit, differ from 
each other only as three modes of acting, or three relations of the same man, 
yet their language is not to be pressed too much, but should be construed by 
what we have above stated. And they themselves, often correct what they have 
in certain passages stated less fitly and distinctly ; and explain themselves in 
other passages, in accordance with our statements. One example we have al- 
ready seen in Epiphanius ; who seems to teach that the Trinity of Sabellius 
was only nominal, and yet he is with us. Another example is afforded by Basil 
the Great, who speaks (Epist. ccxiv. p. 322.) as if Sabellius denied any real dis- 
tinction ill the divine nature ; and yet, in the two passages above cited, he ad- 
mits that, while Sabellius rejected a personal distinction, he was not averse from 
admitting one that was real and true; and while denying that what was divine 
in Christ differed from God, in the same way that a son differs from a father, 
yet conceded that it might be viewed as a sort of separate (ir/»oVaffov) 'person. I 
will now add a third example, very striking, and well suited to our purpose, 
taken from Theodoret. In his Heretical Fables, (L. ii, c. 9, 0pp. torn. iv. p. 223.) 
he explains the dogma of Sabellius in the usual way ; viz. that he held to one 
person under three names^ and called that person sometimes the Father, some- 
times the Son, and sometimes the holy Spirit. But in his Eccles. History, 
(L. i. c. 4.) he gives us an Epistle o^ Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, to Alex- 
ander, the bishop of Constantinople ; from which it appears, that SabeHiu.3 
thought very differently. For he tells us (0pp. tom. iii. p. 533.) that Alexander 
wrote thus: Tria-Hvouiv it; Iva Kvfiicv, lua-ouv Xfttrrdr, rdv vidv tou Qiou fxovoytiHy 
ytwu^cvTa' ix. rou ovros Il:trfoC) lu kato. Taf rwj/ a-ujudruv o/ucioTitrai, rati 
T fx a I <; ii Totf Ik J'latpeiTicjv dirOffoiaig, wa-nif) 2a/S»XX<o, Kai BaXtx- 

Tivcc cToxst, aXX' dppMraj. Credimus in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium 
Dei unigcnitum, ex eo, qui Pater est genitum, non corporum ritu, per incisiones^ 
divisionumque^i^a:?one.9, ut Sabcllio et Valentino visum est, sed ineffabili modo. 
We may remark, that this is the statement of a man, than whom no one could 
better know the doctrine of Sabellius; for he lived in the country and city in 
which that doctrine originated, was propagated, and condemned ; and he un- 
doubtedly had in his possession the writings of Dionyslus, his predecessor in the 
see of Alexandria, against Sabellius. This man, therefore, who is the very best 
authority in the case before us, first, states the doctrine of orthodox Christians 
respecting the generation of the Son of God ; secondly, distinguishes [p. 695.] 
from it the error of Valentinus and Sabellius, in regard to the generation of the 



222 Century Ill—Section 33. 

Son ; and (liirdli/, tells us, t!i:it Sabellius and Valentinus held, that the Son was 
produced from the Father, in the manner of material bodies, either (Ta7j touoIs) 
by seclvms, or {U J'laipia-iav drci'^aiom) by emanaiion or effluxes of parts. The 
ialter of these two hypotheses, undoubtedly was that of Valentinus ; whose well 
known npo^iXH {emissi'm), is here not unsuitably called an diroiooix {r-Jffiux). The 
first hypolhesia, therefore, beyond all controversy, was that of Sabellius. Con- 
soquenily, first, Sabelliiis admitted a species of generation of the Son from the 
Father; not, indeed, n 'personal one, yet one of some sort. But, secondly, he de- 
scribed this generation very grossly, and in the miinner of material bodies. 
Thirdly, he made the Son proceed tVom God, by {TifA>iv) a kind of seciiun. Alex- 
ander, indeed, speaks of (joy-ai^) sections, in tiie plural ; but he appears to use 
tlie plural for the singular, as is common. For he also speaks of {dno'f^oUis) 
fluxions, in the plural ; and yet it is certain that Valentinus held to but one 
dir:f(>oiav OF npo^oXh of the Son from the Father. Hence, fourthly, it is mani- 
fest, that S.ibellius considered that divine thing, which dwelt in the man Christ, 
as being a part or portion of God ; so that the Son differed from the Father, as 
apart ditTei's from the whole: from whom he was severed by a section. 1 recol- 
lect, that George Bull, (in his Defensio Fidei Niea^nae, Sect. ii. c. 1, 0pp. p. 33.) 
and perhaps others, explain this passage of Alexander differently, and maintain 
that Alexander does not here state the opinion of Sabellius, but only shows us 
hovv Sabellius explained the common opinion of Christians, respecting the gene- 
ration of the Son of God; viz. this heretic supposed, that a division of the es- 
sence of the Father would necessarily follow from the doctrine of the catholics. 
But a careful attention to the passage, will show that the learned man was de- 
ceived ; for the words will not bear his interpretation. The Sabellian and Va- 
lentinian opinions, respecting the nature of the divine generation, stand coupled 
together; but the latter is certainly not the catholic opinion, as explained by 
Valentinian, but the opinion of Valentin ian himself; and, therefore, the Sabel- 
lian opinion coupled with it, is the opinion of Sabellius himself, and not that of 
the catholics, to whom he was opposed. Bull was led to his mistake by the 
full belief, that the common statement of Sabellius' doctrine is correct. He 
says: Norunt omnes, Sabellium doculsse, Deum esse fA. o v oTrp 6 o- air ov, (a great 
mistake ! For we see clearly from Basil, that he acknowledged three Trpia-uita in 
God, but denied three viroTrr d<rns.) et nullam realem personarum distinctionem in 
divina essentia, nedum divisionem agnovisse. This is in the main false ! Sabel- 
lius denied any personal distinction in God, but not a real and true division. — 
But Worm (in his Historia Sabell. c. 1. p. 20.) blunders still worse. To elude 
the force of this passage, he would persuade us that the words to«« and droffoia 
both refer to Valentinian, and neither of them to Sabellius. Strange that a 
[p. 696.] learned man should say this ! For who does not see that these two words 
express two diirerent opinions'? And who, that has dipped into church history, 
can be so ignorant of it, as not to know that a rSjun, or section, can by no means 
be attributed to Valentinus ? But what need of discussion ? — We have another 
equally noticeable passage of an Egyptian of Alexandria, who must have been 
fully acquainted with the doctrine of Sabellius; namely, Arius the heresiarch, the 
adversary of Alexander, who agrees with his enemy Alexander, and explains the 



Opinions of Scthellius. 223 

doctrine of S;ibclliiis in the same innnner. Mis Epistle to Alexander, his bishop, 
is extant in Kpiphanius, (Hicres. ixix. torn. i. p. 732). Arius there first conti 
deinns the opinion of Va/t'n/m/^s re^pee'.ing the divine generation, and says: 
7rfijio\nv To ytvvnfxa roy Flarficf i^oyfAuT iviv: and then he rejects the opinion of 
Sabellius, in the ibllo\vin<i: terms: ovJ" <!>; Ja/SsXX/oj o r«v /uovaS'a J'laifiot 
CioraTcfu. Iirtv. Nec ego doceo, ut Sabellius, qui uritatem divisil (here we liavo 
the T'jf^ta; v^ Alexander,) et Filium-Patrem appellavit. No language could better 
agree with our explanation. Sabellius divided, cleaved the unity of the divine 
nature; and he c;illed that divine thing which dwelt in Christ, jytojruTooa, both 
Father and !<on : and correctly, for a part of the Father was in Christ, and this 
part was at the same time the Son, being united with him ; and therefore ho 
might be called Ciiirarn^. 

V. As Sabellius supposed the Son to be a fart of God, or a portion of tho 
divine nature, severed from it by section, the ancients were not altogether wrong 
in denominating him and his friends Patripassians ; provided we understand by 
the Father the one supreme God, who, as Sabellius supposed, was not divisible 
into persons. For, whoever supposes that a certain part or portion of the eter- 
nal Father, taken in a certain sense out of him, and yet depending on him, and 
hereafter to return into him, — w;is in Christ when he suHered pains and died, 
and that it participated in the sufferings endured by the man Christ ; — that man 
may not improperly be said to believe, — not that a d.W\wQ, person, but God tho 
Father himself; not, indeed, in his whole nature, but so far forth as he was join- 
ed with Christ, actually suffered the penalties incurred by mankind. If any hu- 
man being, Peter, for instance, could transfer a half or third part of his soul into 
another man, Paul, for example, and that Paul should be put to torture by some 
tyrant, might not that Peter be fitly said to have suffered torture in Paul ? — I 
shall not cite here the testimonies of Augustine, Eusebius, and many others, 
who have told us either that Sabellius and his associates were called Patripas- 
sians, or that they truly merited that appellation ; for such testimonies in great 
abundance have been already collected by Worm, Tillemont, and others : but I 
will add to those adduced, one witness of great value, and deserving the first 
rank, who has been omitted by all who have treated of the subject. He is Di- 
omjsius Alexandrinus, the first antagonist of Sabellius. The Arians of the fourth 
century, in their writings against Sabellius, afhrm that this great and [p. 697.] 
excellent man professed exactly their sentiments concerning Christ. And to re- 
fute their assertion, Athanasius wrote a book, entitled de Sententia Dianysii 
Alex, de Christo, which has come down to us, and is in the 0pp. Athiinasii, 
(torn. i. P. i. p. 242, &c., edit. Benedict). In this book Athanasius shows, from 
the v\-ritings of Dionysius, that he demonstrated, against Sabellius, that the Fa- 
ther did not suffer; and, at the same time, h<^. shows that the Sabellians really 
transferred to the Father tliose sufferings which Christ endured. In ^ 5. p. 246, 
he says: TaXuhpirtpcv imivoi rdv viov ypvivvTOy kui to. dv^pcjrtVA durou tw Uarft) 

d¥iTld-i7CtV S'li^ai OTl OUp^' TTUThp, dW (t ClOS £3"riJ' ytvO/AiViS CttSO i\U(Zv uv3"/)(»;Taf. 

Quum audacius illi (the followers of Sabellius in Pent:ipolis,) Filium negarcnt, 
(i. e. denied that the Son was a distinct person from the Father,) ct humana 
gus (his sufferings and death) Palri adscriberent ; ostendit ipse (Dionysius) non 



224 Century Ill.—Section 33. 

Patreni, sed Filinm pro nobis liominom esse factum. And in \ 26. p. 261, he 
cites from an Epistle of Dionysius to Eupln-jinor and Atnmonius, in confutation 
of the error of iSabellius : T^o/SaXXt/ rH llvd'paiTriva-^c iipn/uiva Tnfi tow o-oitjj'^cj, oli, 
£o"Ti TO TTf/vdv, rd KCTTiclv - - 6t X "yap ruvrx TsLTrtiva hi-yncti^ TarcUTai J'iix.M/TUi 

f^)) Tzaritp ytvif^ivos atd-pcerc^. Pnutormittit ea, qua3 humano more de illo dictJk 
habentur. cujusmodi sunt csurire, laboraro : quanto enim hicc dictu sunt humi- 
liora, tanto liquidius denionstratur Patrcm non esse factum hornineu). This re- 
nowned opponent of Sabellius, in the ardor of debate and zeal for victory, suf- 
fered liimseif to be carried so far, that, not without apparent justice, he was ac- 
cused of error before Diomjsius, bishop of Rome. For while Sabellius seemed 
to change the Son into the Father, or to confound him with the Father, Diony- 
sins seemed to degrade the Son. or to rob iiim of his majesty. And hence it 
became necessary for liim to explain his views more clearly, and he wrote two 
books in self vindication, namely, his Elenchus and his Apologia. On this sub- 
ject Athanasius dwells much ; and he clearly shows, by more than a sufficiency 
of citations from Dionysius, that he did not hold the error of the Arians respect- 
ing Christ. (See 5 13. p. 252, &c.) But after all the diligence of Athanasius 
in defending Dionysius, and in wiping away every stain upon the character of 
a man, held in the highest veneration at Alexandria, it will be manifest, to a 
person carefully considering all that Athanasius has said in his defence, that 
there was something erroneous in Dionysius, and that his opinion of Christ, dif- 
fered from the Nicene and the modern doctrine. The more effectually to con- 
fute Sabellius, who maintained that God himself, or the Fatlier was born, suf- 
fered and died in Christ, Dionysius denied, (as Atlianasius clearly shows, \ 5. 
p. 246,) that i\\e passions of Christ (humana Christi) feriained to the God resi- 
dent in Christ; and he referred them exclusively to the Son. He therefore 
went to the opposite extreme. That is, Dionysius distinguished in Christ the 
Word, a divine person distinct from the Father, and also the Son ; or rather, 
[p. 698.] he supposed two Sons, a human and divine. The Woj-d, or the divine 
Son, he exempted from all the passioiis (di'd-pwnivoiSi humanis) of Christ, or from 
all that Christ, as a man, did and suffered ; and maintained, that all these 
passio7is, {dvdpcoTrtva) — his being horn, suffering, dying, pertained solely to that 
Son of man who was born of Mary. Here he erred, and entered the direct road 
leading to the doctrine ascribed to Nestorius. For, if the Son of God, or the 
Word, which was united to the man Christ, had no part in the actions and suf- 
feiings of the Son of man, it is manifest, that there must liave been both itoo 
natures and two persons in Christ, and that the Son of God, or the Word, only 
strengthened, enlightened, and aided the Son of man. And, therefore, not with- 
out reason, was Dionysius accused at Rome, although not wiih due accuracy 
and distinctness. — Yet, these mistakes of the pious and truth-loving Dionysius, 
serve admirably to elucidate the tenets of Sabellius: namely, that he supposed 
a portion of the divine nature was so united with the man Christ at his birth, as 
to be born with him, suffer nud die w-ith him, and participate in all the actions and 
sufferings of the man Christ, or the Son ; and that this portion of the Deity, on 
account of its intimate union with the Son, is in Scripture called the Son, 
although, properly speaking, only the mail Christ should be called the Son. 



Error of Berijllus. 225 

Either such were the views of SahclUus, or the entire argument of Dionijsius 
against him is futile, irrelevant, and idle. That which we, following the JScrip- 
lures, denominate a person eternally begotten by the Father, Sabellius took to 
be a part of the Deity separated from him within a limited time. If he had only 
supposed the divine nature in Christ to be a person, he would have coincided 
with us, more exactly than Dionysius did. — But perhaps it will not be unac- 
ceptable, but rather agreeable to many, if I should discriminate with more ex- 
actness the Sabellian, the Dionysian, and our own opinions of Christ. We all 
hold to two natures in Christ, a divine and a human. And loe hold that these two 
natures constituted one person, and we exclude the personality of the human na- 
ture, or place the personality in the divine nature. Sabellius, on tlie contrary, 
while he agreed with us in declaring that the two natures constituted but one 
person, excluded the personality of the divine nature, or made the personality to 
exist only in and by the human nature. And to confute him, Dionysius sepa- 
rated, not only the two natures in Christ, but also the persons, and held that the 
actions and passions of the human nature, were not predicable of the divine 
nature. Thus, in his zeal to confute one error, he fell into another equally 
great. 

VI. But Sabellius and his disciples cannot be called Patripassians, in the 
same sense in which the Noeiians were ; if the opinions of the latter are cor- 
rectly stated by the ancients. For Noetus thought the ivhole person of the Fa- 
ther, or the entire divine nature, associated itself with Christ: but Sabellius sup- 
posed, that only a portion of the divine nature descended into the man Christ. 
Hence, Epiplianius made no mistake when he said, in his Anacepha- [p. 699,] 
la^osis, (0pp. tom. ii. p. 146.) : Sabellianos consentire in plerisque cum Noetia- 
nis, hoc uno excepto, quod non ut Noetiani Patrem passum esse doceant. 
This is perfectly correct, if it be explained as I have stated, that the Sabel- 
lians did not ascribe the sufferings of Christ to the Father, in the same 
sense in which the Noetians did. And therefore, there was no ground for 
Augustine, (de Hseresibus,) and many others since him, to cast blame upou 
Epiphanius. 

§ XXXIY. Beryllus of Bostra, in Arabia. About tlie same 
time a similar error, tliongh a little worse, was broached, by 
BenjUus, the bishop of Bostra, in Arabia, a man otherwise de- 
vout, grave, and erudite, who had long governed his congregation 
praiseworthily, and also acquired reputation by his writings. He 
likewise subverted the distinction of persons in God, and denied 
that Christ existed before Mary. He supposed that a soul, the off- 
spring of God himself, and therefore, doubtless, superior to all 
human souls, was divinely implanted in Christ at his birth. This 
opinion of Beryllus was long opposed by many persons, but in 
vain. At length, Origen^ being invited from Egypt for this pur- 
pose, confronted him in a council held at Bostra, with such force 

VOL. II. 16 



226 Century Ill.—Sectlon 34. 

of argument, that BeiijUus gave up Lis opinion, and was recon- 
ciled to tlie cliurch.C) 

(1) Nearly all that is now known of Berylhis and his doctrine, is derived 
from Euscbhis, (Hist. Eccl. L. vi. e. 20. p. 222; and c. 33. p. 231.) and from 
Jerome, (Catal. Scriptor. Ecel. c. 60. edit. Fabricii). For all that others tell 
us, e.\cept a single passage in Soci'ates, scarcely deserves notice. Eusebius alone 
states distinctly the errors of the man : and yet the learned have found some 
obscurity in his language, and therefore have understood him ditfercnlly. His 

words are tiiese : Toa^cjI' ^^iynv /uii Trfo-J^tTrlvai Xpio-Tdv kat"^ icTtar ovo-iai TTtpi- 
ypotpiiv Trpd TJif in dvd-puivovs iriS'ii/LAiaSy y.ii Si /niV QiOTHTU. IS'iav ?p^2/i', t/AX' iiA.To- 
\iTi-jofAtv»v dvTtf, fxovHv TiiY TT-jLTpiniiv . I wlll suLjoin the Latin translation of 
Henry de Valois, although it is not literal throughout, and is deemed faulty by 
some learned men. It U this: Ausus estassererc Christum antequam inter ho- 
mines versaretur (more correctly: ante suum ad homines adventum, id est, ante- 
quam nasceretur. For a false inference may be drawn from the translation oi 
de Valuis,) non substitis^e in propria3 personse differentia, (the learned transla- 
tor here depaits from the words, but follows the sense; for he supposed Iva-i^i to 
be here equivalent to 'Jn-o(rr:ta-ii. The literal rendering would be: secundum 
propriam essentia) circumscriptinnem,) nee propriam, sed paternam duntaxat di- 
[p. 700.] vinitatem in ae rendentem habere. Two propositions are here in- 
cluded : the first, relating to Christ previous to iiis birth, and the second, con- 
cerning him when clothed in a human body. In the first place, Beryllus denied 
that Christ, previously to his advent, so existed, that liis essence or ovs-ia was 
circumscribed, (or separated from that of all other beings). Although most 
writers concerning Beryllus follow the translation of de Ta/ozs, yet learned men 
complain that he renders the words of Eusebius very b:idly. For ova-ia among 
the Greeks is never synonymous with Ctro^Ti^ic, and ■r:ipiyi)x(pif never signifiea 
difference, but circumscription. So John le Clerc, (Ars Critica, Vol i. P. ii. sec. i. 
c. 14. p. 293, &c.) and the Nouvcau Diction. Historique et Critique, (tom. i. Art 
Beryllus, p. 268). The criticisms are correct: and yet I do not think de Valois 
guilty of any great fault. Eusebius aimed to express the very same thing, which 
de Valois has expressed in other words. Beryllus did not deny, that Christ ex- 
isted in some manner, previous to his coming among men ; but he did not ad- 
mit that his essence (lua-i-j.) was circumscribed. Now things are said to be cir- 
cumscribed, ov to have {Tiptyp:tp}iy) circumscription, when they are separated and 
secluded from other things by determinate limits or bounds. Therefore, Beryl- 
lus denied that Christ, before he was born of Mary, had a separate existence, or 
that he was distinct from the essence of the Father. To express this in our 
phraseology, would be to say: Christ had no personality before he was born. He, 
indeed, existed then, yet not as a person, but only in the essence of the Father, 
He existed, but undefined ov without boundaries, if I may so express it ; that is, 
he existed in combination, as it were, with the essence of the Father of all 
things. To use a homely illustration: thus the zoine, now included in a glass, 
existed, indeed, previously in the cask from which it was drawn, but it had not 
then its own inpiyp^p^v circumscription. In other words, Beryllus excluded from 



Error of BenjUus. 227 

fhe divine n:itiirc all divi.-ions, :ind ndinitted no distinction of persons in God. 
Jerome expresses his conception, not erroneously, indeed, yet not with sullieicnt 
perspicuity, (C;i!nl. Scriptor. Eccl. c. GO. p. 138.): ChrisLmn ante incur nalionem 
negabat. He did not wholly deny the exisiencc of Christ before his incarnation, 
but only his nxistence apart from the F;ither, or in our phraseology, his personal 
existence. That sucli was his opinion will, I think, be be very manifest from tho 
second proposition of Eusebius, as follows : Christ, after his naliviti/, had no in- 
dependent divinity, but the divinity <f the Father resided in him. This proposition 
includes the three following positions: First, m the Son, or the man Christ, 
there was a dicins nature, or a diviniry, distinct from his human nature. Yet, 
secondly, this divinity was exclusively Christ''s own. Tho-c things are said to bo 
a person's own, which he alone possesses, or does not hold in common with 
others. But, thirdly, the divinity in Christ was that of the Father ; in other 
words, the divinity of the Father dwelt in him. This third proposition is not ex- 
plicit; lor it might be adopted by one holding, that tiie entire divine [p. 701.] 
nature was united wi;h the man Christ, and by one who holds, that only a part 
of it was so united. But here Socrates comes opportunely to our aid, and ex- 
hibits cle;irly the views of Beryllus, (Hist. Eccl. L. iii. c. 7. pp. 174, 175). He 
tells us, that Eusebius and Athanasius assembled a council at Alexandria, in 
which it was decreed, that Christ assumed, not only a body, but also a human soul. 
He proceeds to say, that this s:ime doi-trine was taught by various of the holiest 
and most distinguished writers among the early Christians; and adds, that tho 
council against Beryllus, bishop of Philadelphia, — (a slip of the memory, for 
Boslra.) — in Arabin, condemned the opposite doctrine of that bishop. ^H //i 
^tifvWov ytvo/mtvn ir-jViS^^i ypipovTst. Byp'jKXff) to. avra, (i/u-^v^ov rdv 'ivav^fiaDirYio-avTXy) 

i:apmS"JuKii. Syuodus propter Beryllutn facta scribens ad eum hacc eadem tradi- 
dii, Christum, qui homo fact us es% aninia prgeditum fuisse. Therefore, Beryllus 
must have believed, that Cin-ist h:id no human aoul. For how could the council 
have condemned this error in its Epistle to him, if he was entirely free from it? 
He, doubtless, admitted tli;it Christ had a sentient soul, which the ancients dis- 
tinguished from the rational soul ; but the place of the latter, he supposed, was 
in Christ supplied by the divinity of the Father. But this divinity of the Father, 
which, according to Beryllus, supplied the place of a ration.Ml soul in Christ, was 
not the u-hole essence of the Father; nor was it a certain injluence flowing from 
it; but it was a most wi-^e, excellent, and immaculate so.vZ, issuing from the 
very nature and essence of the Father, and therefore very like to the Father. I 
am led to this supposition by what Beryllus maintained, namely, that Christ, be- 
fore his advent among men, had not a distinct essence, or Tnptyp:t.<th Iva-ias- For, 
as it must follow from this, that afur his advent he had a circumscribed, or dis- 
tinct and definable essence, the opinion of Beryllus can be explained in no other 
way. And hence we may suppose, that Beryllus adopted the belief that God, 
the author of all things, in whom there is no natural distinction, formed the man 
Christ in the womb of the virgin Mary, and endowed him with a sentient soul; 
and then, to enable the man to perform the functions assigned him, united to 
him a most perfect rational soul, derived from his own bosom. And, therefore, 
when the fathers of the council attempted to reclaim him from liis error, they 



228 Century Ill—Sectioji 35. 

contended that the rational soul of Christ must be distinguished from his 
divine nature. 



§ XXXV. Paul of samosaia. Mucli more pertinacious, and 
producing far greater disturbance in Syria, was Paul, a native of 
Samosata, and bishop of the church at Antioch ; a man not un- 
[p. 702.] learned, nor destitute of genius, but vain and proud, 
and, what was unusual, sustaining a civil office under the govern- 
ment.(') His opinion, respecting the divine nature and Jesus 
Christ the Saviour, is so variously and inconsistently stated by 
the ancients, that it is with difficulty ascertained. But by com- 
paring the principal documents which have reached us, respect- 
ing the controversy with him, I think it will appear that Paul 
held these tenets : That the Father, Son, and holy Spirit, are not 
different persons : That the Son and the holy Spirit are m God, 
just as reason, or the reasoning faculty and action, or the opera- 
tive power, are in a man : That the man Christ was born without 
any connection with the divine nature : That the Word or Reason 
of the Father descended into the man, and united itself with him ; 
but not so as to make one person with him : That the Wisdom or 
Reason of the Father, merely dwelt in the man Christ, and taught 
and wrought miracles by him : On account of this connection of 
the divine Word with the man Christ, the latter is, though im- 
properly, called GoD.(^) — Dionysius of Alexandria first wrote 
against him, and afterwards assembled some councils against 
him at Antioch. In the last of these councils, which appears to 
have met in the year 269, one Malchion, a rhetorician, an acute 
and eloquent man, so skilfully drew Paul out of the subterfuges 
in which he had before lurked, that his error became manifest to 
all. And, as he would not renounce his error, he was divested of 
the episcopal office, and excluded from the communion by com- 
mon suffrage. This decision Paul resisted ; and relying, perhaps, 
on the patronage of Zenohia, the queen of Palmyra, and on the 
favor of the people, he refused to give up the house in which 
the bishop resided, and in which the church was accustomed to 
assemble. But this queen, after governing the province of the 
East for a time, was conquered by the emperor Aurelian, in the 
year 272 ; and the contest being brought before the emperor, he 
did not, indeed, decide it, but referred it to the arbitrament of 



Life of Paul of Samosata. 

the Romisli and Italian bisliops, who decided against Paul.i^) 
He left behind him a sect, the Paulians, or Paulianists^ which, 
however, was not numerous, and did not continue beyond the 
fourth century. 

(1) All that has come down to us respectuig the life and morals of [p. 703.] 
Paul of Samosata, is found in an Epistle composed by the bishops of the coun- 
cil of Antioch, in which he was condemned; a part of wiiich Epistle is preserved 
by Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 30. p. 279, &c. Paul was faulty enough, 
and unworthy of a place among bishops, even if we suppose these bishops were 
excited by passion, and exaggerated his faults. I admit that in his case too much 
inflaence seems to have been allowed to personal dislike, partial feelings, rival- 
ship and envy : and perhaps he would not have been even accused of any corrupt 
doctrine, if he had not been rich, honored, and powerful. And yet, in the charges 
against him, there are some things which could not have been fabrications; and 
these area sufficient ground for entertaining an unfavorable opinion of his life 
and conduct. — I. Being born in indigent and needy circumstances, he suddenly 
acquired vast riches : and the bishops charge him wiLii having accumulated his 
wealth by frauds, by deceptive promises, and base artifices. — This charge I can 
readily believe. For such was the condition of Christians in that age, that it 
was not possible the incomes of bishops should raise them to opulence, if they 
did nothing unbecoming their office, or repugnant to religion. I therefore must 
suppose, that the bishops state facts when they say, that Paul heard and decided 
causes according to the customs of the age, and suffered bribes to be tendered 
him by the litigants. — II. In the conventions of the clergy, he imitated the 
pomp of civil magistrates and judges. For he erected for himself a tribunal, and 
an elevated throne, from which he pronounced judgments; and he had a private 
audience room, like the Roman magistrates. — This also, I have no doubt, was 
true. For the whole history of Paul shows, that he was a proud, arrogant and 
vain man. Nor could one who was much at court, and high in favor there, relish 
the holy and devout modesty of the Christian bishops. — III. He loved to have 
his discourses received by the people, as the declamations of the rhetoricians and 
sophists were, with clappings and applauding acclamations; and he rebuked those 
who withheld from him this honor. — This perhaps is not perfectly true : and yet 
it is not altogether incredible. I suspect he was a sophist and rhetorician, be- 
fore he became a Christian; and therefore was unwilling to forego that honor 
among Christians, which he had long been accustomed to receive from his pu- 
pils. — IV. He greatly lauded himself in his discourses, and spoke disparagingly 
of the ancient doctors. — Perhaps, he affirmed that certain religious doctrines 
were not explained and inculcated with sufficient clearness and accuracy by the 
ancients. — V. He abolished the use of the hymns in honor of Cln-ist, to which 
the people had been accustomed. — There is no reason to doubt the truth of this 
charge. But I would direct attention to his reasons for discontinuing those 
hymns. The bishops, his accusers, do not say, that he discarded those hymns be- 
cause they contained any errors, but because they were recent^ and com- [p. 704.] 
posed by modem persons. They say nothing further : but I will state how I uu- 



230 Century III— Section 35. 

dtTsland the matter. Paul discontinued the customary liymns, as being recent 
productions, and substituted inlheii- phice the ancient P^al^ls of DaviJ, which he 
wished to have used exclusively. For, beinjr n shrewd man, and acquainted 
with the ways of the court, he wished in this matter to gratify the feelings of 
queen Zenobia, his patroness; who, as welenrn from Aihanasius and others, was 
attached to the Jewish mode of worship. — VF. He directed women to sing 
hymns to his praise, in a public assembly on the gi-eat festival of Easter, and 
cau.sed the neighbouring bishops and presbyters to laud him in their sermons. — 
That such things occurred, namely, that Paul was publicly lauded by women 
and by neighbouring bishops and presbyters, I can believe without much diffi- 
culty; but that he was so infatuated, and so greedy of praise, as boldly to urge 
forward these proclaimers of his virtues, I cannot believe so easily. I suspect 
that Paul, nfter the controversy arising from his novel opinions had become 
warm, and the people had become divided into factions and parties, persuaded 
some bishops and presbyters to defend and support his cause in public discourses ; 
and, through his satellites, he encouraged some women, on Easter day, when the 
peojile were all assembled, suddenly to shout forth his praise ; — in order to con- 
ciliate popular fiivor to him, and to check the rising storm of opposition. — VII. 
He allowed his presbyters and deacons, among other wrong things, to keep the 
ho-caWad sub-inlroduced {<rv\ii9dKTdLCy subintroductas) icomen : and he himself 
kept two young women, and carried them with him when he travelled. — This 
was not contrary to the custom of the priests of that age : of which 1 have spo- 
ken elsewhere. But the bishops do not accuse Paul of any illicit intercourse 
ti'ith these women : whence it appears, that though a luxurious liver, he was not 
altogether regardless of the laws of chastity and decorum. 

But it clearly was unusual and extraordinary, that while sustaining the office 
of a bishop among Christians, he held at the same time a high ciiil ojjice under 
the government; for he was a Ducenarius Procurator. This kind of judges was 
instituted by Augustus; and they bore the title of Ducenarii^ from the annual 
salary of two hundred sestertia allowed them. They are of! en mentioned in 
ancient books and inscriptions. That there were Ducenarii Procuratores in 
Syria, and particularly at Palmyra, where Paul was in favor, is put beyond all 
doubt by the inscriptions found at Palmyra, and published by Abrah. Seller. 
(See his Antiquities of Palmyra, p. 166. 167. Lond. 1696. 8.) But let us at- 
tend to the complaints of the bishops on this subject, in Eusebius, (L, vii. e. 30.); 

i/>{,>iXa ppovli Kui virif>-^f>Tai x-otuikol d'^tMuara urcJ^uo/nivos. Kdt J'cvKHVdpioi 

fxaWov ii 'ETT-tVxoTTCf 3-tXcjv sctxifr^-At. jMngna mcditatur, et srcculares gerit 
dignitates ; et Ducenarius vocari mavult, quam cpiscopus. Some learned 
[p. 705.] men, not able to believe that a bishop among the Christians, a people 
odious and condemned by the laws, was honored with so liigh an office among 
the Romans, try to construe the language of the bishops differently from the 
common rendering. Examples enough are found of Christians sustaining dis- 
tinguished offices in the Roman commonwealth, but that a Christian bishop or 
presbijler should be enrolled among the Judges and Magistrates of the Roman 
empire, is without example, or any probability, nay, seems to be impossible. I 
formerly conjectured, that Paul of Samosatahad been a Ducenarius ProcuratoTy 



L^fe of Paul of Samosata. 231 

beTore his conversion to Christianity; which, if it were the fact, would fliow how 
two so very difTerent othces, the one sacred the other civil, c;inie to be united in 
the man. Bnt the language of the bishops above cited, will not comport with 
this sni>posiiion : for it could not have been regarded as criminal in Paul, to 
retain his civil ofKce after his conversion; and the Christians who created a 
Ducenarius a bishop, would have been more criminal than Paul, who merely did 
not refuse the sacred otiiee but superadded it to his civil office. Some learned 
men, therefore, feeling the difficulties of the case, would give a diflerent sense to 
the language of the bishops. They say, the bishops do not state that Paul teas in 
fact a Dtk-enarius, but that he would rather be called a Ducenarius than a bishop • 
and therefore they only show us, that he undervalued the title of bishop, and 
would have been glad, if he could, to exchange it for the more splendid title of 
Ducenarius. But, however specious this interpretation may seem to be, neither 
the words preceding nor those that follov/, will permit it. For the bishops 
say, most explicitly, that he was K(,o-fAixa d^idJ/naTa CrroS'vofAfvosy clothed 
with worldly honors, and not that he merely coveted them. And immediately 
after, they add that he moved in stale through the forum, read aloud and publicly 
the letters (presented), and dictated (answers), and appeared loitha throng (of at- 
tendants), preceding and following after him. Such things would not comport with 
the office of a Christian bishop, who, jf he should act in such a majiner, would 
undoubtedly be thought deranged or out of his senses; but they are perfectly in 
cliaracter and keeping for a Ducenary Judge or Magistrate; for such a man, 
clothed in the insignia of his office, and guarded by his attendants, at certain 
seasons presented himself before the people, in the forum, where causes were 
usually tried; with lictors going before him, and servants and ministers about 
liim. And as he passed along, many petitioners, as was the custom, presented 
to him their petitions; and he, being the judge, read the petitions on the spot, 
gave his decision, and dictated it to the attending scribes. — But, say they, can it 
be believed, that the emperor would confer an office of so much importance on a 
Christian bishop? — I answer, it is not wholly incredible. This Paul was a very 
prosperous man, and possessed great wealth: and nothing is too high [p. 706.] 
to be reached by means of money. The Roman provincial governors often sold 
the public offices. But it is not necessary for us to suppose, that this bishop ob- 
tained the office of a Ducenarius from the emperor. It is known from the Roman 
history of those times, that Zenobia, the wife of Odenatus, a petty king of the Pal- 
myrenians, a woman of great energy, and endowed with uncommon intellectual 
and executive powers, governed the East, directing all public rffairs at her dis- 
cretion, during the reign of the emperor Gallienus, from A. D. 263, to the year 
272. Into the good graces of the queen, who was a great admirer < f learning 
and learned men, Paul, being a man of learning, a rhetorician, and not ignorant 
of the fine arts, and of the ways of courts, had insinuated himself; as we are 
expressly told by Alhanasius, (Ej)ist. ad. So'itaiios, 0pp. torn, I. p. 386, &;c. 
and in Monifaucon's Collectio Nova Patr. et ^criptor. Grtecor. torn. II. p. 20.) 
and by Theodoret, Chrysos'om, Nicephorus, (Hist. Eccl. L. vi. c. 27. p. 420.) and by 
others. From this queen, therefore, a.<, others before me have conjectured, Paul 
obtiiued, perhaps, this office. — And yet to this queen also, whom he was most 



232 Century III— Section 35. 

studious to please, he o;ved all those troubles, under which, after various con- 
tests, he succumbed. He was, as his conduct shows, not one of those who 
seek fame by means of religious controversies, but he was particularly eager for 
wealth and honor. Hence it is more than probable, that he would have left 
his people to believe what they pleased, had not his thirst for wealth and ho- 
nors induced him to propose innovations. Zenobia, as is certain from the testi- 
mony of Afhajiasius and others, was either a Jewess, or at least exceedingly 
partial to the Jewish religion. Hence, like all the Jews, she was disgusted 
with the christian doctrines of three persons in one God, and of the generation 
of the Son of God. To abate her disgust, Paul accommodated his religion, as 
far as possible, to the taste of the queen, by discarding all that was particularly 
repugnant to the Jewish doctrine of one individual God. This is stated by 
Theodoret, (Ha; ret. Fabul. L. ii. c. 8. p. 222.) by Chrysostom, (Homil. viii. in Jo- 
hann. 0pp. torn. viii. p. 48. ed. Bened.) and by others. And as all his opinions 
concerning God and Christ, (as we shall soon see,) were manifestly suited to 
repress the cavils of the Jews, who contended that the Christians subverted the 
unity of the divine nature, and converted God into a man, — nothing, in my 
opinion, is more credible than the above statement. And the same desire to 
gratify the feelings of the queen, induced him, as before remarked, to order the 
discontinuance of the Hymns in common use among christians, and the substi- 
tution of tbe Psalms of David. For it was his aim, to make the christian 
[p. 707.] religion appear to ditler as little as possible from that of the Jews. 

(2) Respecting the impiety of Paul of Samosata, scarcely any writer since 
the third century, who has treated of the trinity of persons in God, and of 
Christ, either formally or incidentally, is silent ; and the writers on heresies, 
one and all, place this man among the worst corrupters of revealed truth, and 
inveigh against him vehemently : so Epiphanius, Theodoret, Augustine, Damas- 
cenus, and the rest. Moreover, some of the public documents of the proceed- 
ings against him, have reached us ; a circumstance which has not occurred in 
regard to most of the other heretics. For there is extant, I. a great part of the 
Epistle of the bishops, by whose decision he was condemned in the council at 
Antioch, addressed to all the bishops of Christendom, to make it manifest that 
they had good reasons for what they had done : In Eusebius, (Hist. Eccl. L. 
vii. c. 30. p. 279, &c.) But it is to be regretted, that Eusebius has preserved 
only that part of the Epistle which recounts the vices and delinquencies of the 
man, omitting the part which stated his doctrines or errors. If the latter had 
been preserved, we could more confidently and more definitely determine what 
were his principles. — There is extant, II. a copy of one of the Epistles of the 
bishops of the council, addressed to Paul, relating to the controversy with him: 
in the Bibliotheca Patrum Parisiensis, (tom. xi. p. 302. ed. Paris. 1644. Fol.) 
In this Epistle, six of the bishops state their own opinions respecting God and 
Christ, and inquire of him, whether he disagrees with them. — There is extant, 
III. an Epistle of Dionysius, of Alexandria, to Paul of Samosata, in which the 
writer chides and confutes him ; in the same Bibliotheca Patrum, (tom. xi. 
p. 273.) Some very erudite men, and for reasons worthy of consideration, deny 
indeed, that this Epistle was written by Dionysius. See Henry de Valois on 



Doctrines of Paul of Samosata. 233 

Eiisebius, (p. 155.) The Epistle is unquestionably veiy nnciont, and it was 
addressed to Paul by some bishop or presbyter, whose name being omitted in 
the early copy, some person, recollecting- that Dionysius was an opposer of Paul, 
ascribed the Epistle to him. From Question x. and the Answer to it, (p. 298.) 
it seems to be inferable, that the writer of the Epistle, and of the Answers to 
the Questions, was a 'presbyter: for he is so styled by Paul. — There are extant, 
IV. ten Questions of Paul of Samosata, addressed to Dionysius of Alexandria, 
and the Answers of the latter to these Questions : in the same Bibliotheca Pa- 
trum, (tom. xi. p. 278.) Of these, my opinion is the same as of the EpLstle 
above mentioned. That the Questions were composed by Paul himself, I do 
not hesitate to believe, because I see no ground for doubt. The Answers were 
not written by Dionysius, but by some one of those with whom Paul had dis- 
cussion respecting his opinions. — But this unequalled abundance of documents 
relative to the heresy of Paul, has not prevented a great diversity in opinion, 
both among the ancients and the moderns, respecting his real sentiments, [p. 708.] 
For the ancients speak, sometimes obscurely, sometimes inconsistently, and 
sometimes they mistake, either from passion or prejudice ; and hence the 
moderns differ widely, some criminating, and some vindicating the man. To 
find the truth, if possible, among these uncertainties, I will first collect together 
all that can be learned, respecting Paul's sentiments, from those Epistles and 
ancient documents just described ; for they are certainly more veracious and 
trustworthy, than any others. And if we then compare vt^ith these statements, 
whatever has reached us from other ancient sources, we shall see what we 
ought to admit, and what w^e should reject. For whatever accords with those 
earliest testimonies, must doubtless be regarded as true ; and whatever contra- 
dicts them, bears the marks of falsehood. 

I. The bishops by whom Paul was condemned, in their Epistle, preserved 
by Eusebius, say : — First, That he denied his God and Lord : top Qtdv tuvrlu 
Kai Kvpiov dfvovf^hcu. (p. 280.) — Secondly, That before the bishops, assembled 
in council, he would not acknowledge that the Son of God descended f?-om heaven : 
Tdv viov Tou ©soy j| oupcivou KXTcixiw^-cviti. — Thirdly, That he distinctly said, 
Jesus Clirist originated on earth : Aiyn V^o-c^Zv Xptj-rdv KaTuB-iv. — Fourthly, 
That he wdnt over to the abominable heresy of Arlemas. What the heresy of 
Artemas was, with which they tax Paul, is a question of doubt and uncertainty. 
I shall therefore pass by this charge, and consider only the others ; in which, 
doubtless, the chief error of Paul w'as included, and that error which was the 
cause of so much odium against him. — From these charges it is evident, that he 
would not acknowledge Jesus Christ to be both God and man ; or, he denied, 
that Jesus Christ wms a person — if I may so say, compounded of God and man. 
For when he said, the Son of God did not descend from heaven, but originated on 
the earth, what could he mean, but that Christ was a mere man, though divinely 
begotten of the virgin Mary 1 And what could the bishops mean, when they 
taxed him with denying his God and Lord, but that he divested Christ of his 
divinity, or denied that a divine person received the man Christ into union with 
himself? From the same charges it also appears, that he called the manC\msi 
the Son of God; and this, undoubtedly, because he was supernaturally pro- 



234 Century III— Section 35. 

duced from the virgin IMary. For he denied Ihnt the Son of God descended 
from heaven ; and ns this, most certainly, must be understood as ret'errinn- to 
Chris/, it is m:iniiest that lie applied the litle Soji of God to the man Christ. 
And this alone is a sufficient refutation of the error of those who believe, what 
Marias Mercalor asserts, (de xii. Anathematismis Nestorii, in his 0pp. tom. ii. 
p. 128.) that Paul of Samosala represented Christ as being a man, horn like 
other men of two parents. Yet we have a better witness for confuting this error, 
in Paul himself, who distinctly snys, (Quaestio v. in the Bibliofh. Patr. tom. 

xi. p. 286.) : I'^^rtuf o yiwuB-itiiK ttveviuutos ayiou xat Manias t«? TraoS-tfiw. 
[p. 709.] Jesus ex Maria virgine et Spiritu sancto natus est. — That the bishops, 
whose charges we are considering, did him no injustice, he himself makes 
manifest. For all his ten Questions now extant, whether addressed to Dionysius 
or to another person, have one sole aim, namely, to evince, by means of various 
texts of scripture brought together, that Christ was a mere man, and destitute 
of any divinity ; or, what amounts to the same thing, to confute the belief that 
the divine and human natures united in Christ produced one person. It is there- 
fore not necessary to produce the testimony of others among the ancients to 
the same point. And yet I will add that of Simeon Betharsamensis, a celebrated 
Persian, near the beginning of the sixth century, whose testimony I regard as 
of more value than that of all the Greek and Latin fathers. In his Epistle on 
the heresy of the Nestorians, (in Jos. Sim. Assemans Bibliotheca Oriental. 
Clement. Vatie. tom. i. p. 347.) he says: Paulus Samosatcnus de bcata ^laria 
haec dicebat : Nudum hominem genuit Maria, nee post partum virgo permansit. 
Christum autem appellavit crealum, factum, mortalem et fdium (Dei) ex gratia. 
De se ipso vero dicebat : Ego quoque si voluero, Christus ero, quum ego et 
Chrisius unius, ejusdemque simus naiurce. These statements accord perfectly 
with the allegations of the bishops, and with the character of Paul, who was 
rash and extravagant. Epiphanivs also, (Heeres. Ixv. p. 617.) says of him: 
that he gate himself the appellation of Christ: a declaration which is elucidated 
by the quotation from the Persian Simeon. 

II. The six bishops of the council of Antioch, in their letter to Paul before 
sentence was pronounced upon him, while they state their own doctrine respect- 
ing God and Christ, condemn some errors of their adversary. In the first place, 
they say, it could not be endured, that he should inculcate, Ctiv to-j Qio-j etdu .«» 
Itvat Trpi) Kara&'jKyit k^t/xcu. Filium Dei non esse Deum ante constitutionem mundi. 

And, Suo Qi'.ijs x-aTayycWiO-^aiy cav o Cids rou Qiou Qidi Kitfv(TiTHTai. DCOS illos (/moS 

inducere, qui filium Dei praedicent Deum esse. (Bibliotheca Patr. tom. xi. 
p. 303.) The bishops speak less definitely than could be wished; in consequence, 
perhaps, of the studied obscurity of Paul, who did not wish, his real sentiments 
to be distinctly known. And yet it is not di.TJcult to s^e, whither tend the senti- 
ments they attribute to him. First, he acknowledged, that there is something in 
God, tcldch the Scriptures call the Son of God. lie therefore supposed, that 
there are tico Sons (f God; the one h>j grace, the man Christ; the other by naluie, 
*who existed long before the other Son. — Secondly. He denied, that the latter Son 
of God, was God anterior to the creation of the world. — Thirdly. And consequently 
he held, that this Son of God became. God, at the time the world loas created. — The^o 



Doctrines of Paul of Samosata. 23b 

fitatomonts appear confused, and very difterent from the common apprehensions: 
but thoy will ;idiuit of elucidation. Paul meant to say, that the energy^ — or, if 
any prefer it, ihe Divine energy, which he denominated the Son of God^ was 
hidden in God, before the creation of the world; but that, in a sense, it issued 
out from God, and began to have some existence exterior to God, at the time 
God formed the created universe. — Fourthly. Hence, he inferred, //ta/ [p. 710.] 
thoae profess two Gods, (or speak of two as in the place of the one God,) who pro- 
claim the Son of God to be God : but undoubtedly, considering what precedes, 
the linutation should be added: before the creation of the world. His belief was, 
that //.'C?/ divide the one God into two Gods, who make the Son of God to have 
existed as a person, distinct from the Father, before the foundation of the world. 
He did not deny, as we have seen, that the Son of God was, in some sense, 
made God, at the time the world was created. — From all this we learn, that 
Paul denied the eternal generation of the Son of God, and also his personal dis- 
tinctness from the Fatl-.er : and he supposed, that when God was about to create 
the woild, he sent out from himself a certain energy, wliich is called the 8on of 
God, and also God, although it is nothing distinct from God. These ideas may 
be further illustrated, by the subsequent charge of the bishops; in which they 
rot obscurely tax Paul, wi.h representing God the Father as creating the world 
by the Word (w? cT/' ipyivcu x.ai tjrto-Tx'iMxj djuri(rTiiTcv) as by an instrument^ 
and by intelligence, having no separate existence or personality. For it hence ap- 
pears, that by the Son or Word (f God, he understood the divine wisdom {iiriTri- 
M«>')i which, before the world was created, had been at rest in God, and hidden 
during numberless ages; but now, when the supreme God formed the purpose 
of creating the world, it exhibited its powers, and as it were came out from tho 
bosom of the Father; or in other words, it manifested its presence, by discrimi- 
nating, acting, and operating. From that time onward, it is called, though figu- 
ratively, the Son of God, because it proceeded forth from God, just as a son does 
from his parents; and also God, because it is essentially God, and can be con- 
ceived of as separate from him only by an abstraction of the mind. In perfect 
accordance with these views, are the statements of other ancient writers. Thus 
Epiphanius, (Ha3res. Ixv. p. 608.) states the sentiments of Paul: God ihe Fa- 
ther, Son and Spii'it, are one God. The Word and Spirit are ever in God, as 
reason is in man : the Son of God has no separate existence, but he exists in God. 
.... vi6z tv Tu> TTorfi, wj Xs^&f iv dvB-pcomi). The Son is in the Father, as 
reason (not speech, sermo, as Petavius rendered it: but t^iTr^fxn, as the bishops 
term it.) ts in man. Epiphanius, who as an author, was not distinguished for 
his accuracy and research, has not stated all that Paul held, but what he has 
stated, is very well. I omit similar citations from Athanasius and others, that 
the discussion may not be too prolix. 

III. Dionysius, or whoever wrote the epistle bearing his name, (in the Bib- 
liothecaPatr. tom. xi. p. 273. 274.) says that Paid taught: J'Co (esse) vTroTrda-us 

xu( JC'j rp'jTuna Toy ivdi Y^fxCiv XpiTT'.u, Kal cTys X/JcVTOff, kui S^'jo CtoOi, ha 
pv^it Tuv CiCv Toy GfiU TrpoiJ-iTjp^ov-a, kui i^a Kar lu:\vfj.[av \pi7rov nui i/idr 

ToZ ^■i^\S^. duas esse hypostases et du-is fornias (so I would render the word 
wfiffu-TTa, rather than by personas) unius Christi, et duos Chrislos, ac duos filios. 



236 Centimj III— Section 35. 

[p. 711.] unum natura filium Dei, qui fuit ante sa?cula,et iinum homonyme Chris- 
tum et filium David, qui secundum bcneplacitum (x^t' st/iTsx/xv) Dei accepit 
nomen filii. Wlietlier Paul so expressed himself, or whether Diovysius so in- 
ferred from the language of Paul, there is nothing here disagreeing with the 
opinions of Paul. For since he declared Christ to be a mere man, born of 
Mary ; and denied that the Wisdom of God, combined with the man Christ, 
constituted one person ; and yet asserted, that the eternal Son of God, by 
whom the world was created, dwelt in the man Christ ; and as he also called 
the man Christ the Son of God, and applied the same appellation, Son of God, 
to that power of the divine Wisdom which projected the world; — it must 
necessarily be, that in some sense, he recognized two distinct and separate 
things in Christ, two forms, two Sons, two Christs. And here it should be 
noticed, that the word vTroa-Ttta-isy in the language of Dionysius, is not to 
be understood in our sense of the term, but in a broader acceptation. And 
from the Questions of Paul, (Quast. vii. p. 290.) it appears, that he used the 
word vTroa-TAo-ic in a broad sense, as applicable to any thing that is or 
exists, whether it subsists by itself, or only in something else. The eternal 
Son of God, which Paul acknowledged to exist in Christ, he could not have 
regarded as truly an CTrio-rcta-i? or person. For, if he had so regarded it, 
he would have admitted the very thing which he denied, namely, that the Son 
of God is a person distinct from the person of the Father. — In this same Epistle, 
(p. 274.) Dionysius blames Paul for saying : Hominem Christum magis Deo 
placuisse, quam omnes homines, ad habitandum in eo (avm T-iif d(rKiirix.it; kui 
iirnzovov StKntoa-uvHs) idque sine dura et laboriosa exercitatione justitise. He 
therefore admitted, that God, in the sense before explained, i. e. as being the 
Wisdom of God, dwelt in Christ. — But, he added, that God dwelt in Christ, sine 
laboriosa jiisiitiai exercitatione. This well explains the views of Paul, and in 
part confirms my former remarks. For PauVs meaning is, that Christ, while 
obeying the commands of the law, and suffering its penalties, acted and suf- 
fered alone ; nor did God, as present with him, either act or suffer along with 
the man Christ. And hence it appears, that Paul rejected altogether the 
union of the divine and human natures in Christ. And in this manner, Dio- 
nysius correctly understood him ; as appears from the confutation he subjoined, 
in which he endeavors to show, by many proofs, that God was horn in Christ, 
and suffered the penalties, and died. More passages, of a similar character, 
might be drawn from this Epistle ; but they are not needed. 

IV. In the ten Questions proposed by Paul to Dionysius, the sole aim of 
Paul is, to prove that the man born of Mary had no community of nature or of 
action with God dwelling in him. Hence he brings forward the texts in which 
the soul of Christ is said to be troubled and sorrowful. (John, xii. 27. Matt. 
xxvi. 28.) And he then asks : Can the nature of God be sorrowful and troubled ? 
[p. 712.] And he lays before his antagonist, the words of Christ to the Jews, 
Destroy this temple, &c. (John, ii. 19.) and then demands : Can God be dissolved 1 
And this objection, so easy of solution, Dionysius answers miserably, by re- 
sorting to a mystical interpretation. For he would have Paul believe, that by 
the temple which Christ represents as to be dissolved, must be understood the 



Doctrines of Paul of Samosata. 237 

disciples of Christ ; because these tlie Jews actually dissolved, that is, disporsod 
and scattered. And some of the other answers are no better. In Question v. 
(p. 286.) Paul says: Luke tells us (ch. ii. 40.) that Christ grew. But can God 
grow ? If, therefore, Christ grew, he was nothing but a rnan. With this ar- 
gument, the good Dio7ujsius is greatly puzzled. But at length he finds his 
way out, and says: The bojj who, as Luke tells us, grew and loaxed 
strong, is the church; so that Av^}i<ns tou Qdu lis rHv iKx.\»(r(ai.v Itti, (he 
growth of God, relates to the church : for it is recorded in the Acts, that the 
church increased daily and was enlarged ; and that the word of God increased 
every day. How ingenious and beautiful ! If all the bishops who opposed 
Paul, were like this Dionysius for acuteness and genius, I do not wonder they 
could not refute him. And lest this fine response should lose its force and 
beauty, Dionysius closes it with exquisite taunts. — But I will desist. Paul, 
undoubtedly, had wrong views, and views very different from those which the 
scriptures inculcate. But his adversaries also appear to have embraced more 
than one error, and they had not sufficiently precise and clear ideas on the sub- 
ject they discussed. 

These statements, derived from the best and most credable documents on the 
subject, if carefully examined and compared together, will give us easy access 
to the real sentiments of Paul of Samosata. The system he embraced, so far 
as it can be ascertained at the present day, is contained in the following propo- 
sitions. — I. God is a perfectly simple unit, in whom there is no division into 
parts whatever ! — II. Therefore, all that common christians teach, respecting 
different persons in God, an eternal Son of God, and his generation from eter- 
nity, is false, and should be corrected by the holy scriptures. — III. The scrip- 
tures speak indeed of the Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit. But those texts 
must be so understood, as not to militate with the clearest and most certain 
doctrine of both reason and scripture, respecting the unity of the divine na- 
ture. — IV. The Son of God mentioned in the scriptures, is merely the 
Reason {Kayo^) and Wisdom (i7n<rTriu») of God.— ^Those who have trans- 
lated the Greek writers concerning Paul, into Latin, — De Valois, Petavius, and 
others, — commonly render the Greek word xoycgy by the Latin word Ver- 
bum. This is wrong. From the Epistle of the bishops at Antioch to Paul, it 
is clear, that he understood by >^oyos the divine Wisdo77i. Hence this Greek 
word is equivalent to the Latin word ratio. Marius Mercator, wiiom many 
follow after, (de xii. Anathematismo Nestoriano, in his 0pp. tom. ii. p. 128. 
edit. Garnerii) erroneously says : Verbum Dei Patris, non substantivum, sed 
prolativum, vel imperativum, sensit Samosatenus. But Paul did not recog- 
nize the word Trpoifcpmov ( prolativum) : and by the word \oyogy he intended 
the Wisdom or the Reason of God ; as is manifest from Epiphanius, [p. 713.] 
A'ho, it must be confessed, is not always snlficiently accurate ; (Ilasres. Ixv. 

p. 609.) : Ao^-ov vof/.i^ov<ri a-otpiav, oiov ev 4'^/CV dvB'pdJirov iKxa-TCi e^ti Koycv. Vocant 
sapientiam, qualem quilibet homo in anima possidet divinitus acccptara. — 
V. This Reason of God was at rcvst in him, from eternity, and did not project 
or attempt any thing exterior to God. But when God determined to create 
the visible universe, this Reason in a sense proceeded out from God, and acted 



238 Century III.— Section 85. 

exteriorly to G^d. On this account, in the scriptures, it is metnphorically 
cnlled the Hon of God. — VI. The Hp\r\L is XXv.xi fower^ which God possesses, of 
producing and animating- all things, at his pleasure. It first received the name 
of Spirit, when it manifested itself in the creation of the world; and it is so 
called, because it may be compared to the icind or the breath, which produces 
motions in the air. When it excites pious emotions in ihe souls of men, it is 
cnllc-d the hohj Spirit. — VII. And therefore, until God entered on the creation 
of the world, and operated externally, there was neither any Son of God, nor 
any holy Spirit. And yet both may, in a certain sense, be pronounced clernaU 
because they eternally existed in God. — VIII. When God would make known 
to men a way of salvation superior to that of Moses, he, by means of that eter- 
nal pmcer of his, which gives life and motion to all things, and which is called 
the holy Spirit, begat, of the Jewish virgin Mary, that very holy and most per- 
fect man, Jesus : and this man, because he was begotten by the power of God, 
without any intervening agency, is also called the Son of God; just as a house 
receives Ihc name of its builder. (See Dionysius' Epistle to Paul, ubi Supr. 
p. 274.) — IX. This extraordinary W2a?2, though he was more holy and more 
noble than any other mortal, yet lived and acted in the way and manner of 
othiM- men, and was subject to all the wants and frailties which are incident to 
our nature. And all the things which he either did or suffered, prove clearly 
that he was a mere man. — X. But to enable him to perform the functions of a 
diune ambassador, without failure, (for as a man, he was liable to errors and 
defects.) that same divine Reason, which proceeded forth as it were from God 
at the time the world was created, joined itself to his soul, and banished from 
it all ignorance on religious subjects and all liability to failure. — At what timej 
in the opinion of Paul, the divine Reason or Wisdom became associated with 
the soul of Christ, I do not find stated. I can suppose, that the advent of the 
Reason or Word of God to the man Christ, was delayed till the commencement 
of his public functions. Becau.se, previously, the man Christ did not need tho 
aid of this eternal Wi.sdom, — XI. This presence of the divine Wisdom, (which 
is nothing different from God himself,) in the man Christ, makes it proper that 
this man should be, and he is, called God. Alhanasiiis, (de Synodis, 0pp. torn. 
i. P. ii. p. 739,) : Oi and UauKou Tiii ^auoaraTias \iyovTaiy 'Kpi(rrdv iic-rtpcv 
[p. 714.] lUiTa T«v tvavd-puTTittrtv tn iTfiOKOTrn; Ti^iOTroiii^d'aiy tcj t«v ^uitdi 

^ixdv avd-pwrrov yfyovivat. Pauli Samosateni discipuli dicunt Christum post in- 
carnationem ex profectu (I am not sure, that Monfaucon here gives the true 
import of the Greek, t» ^/JixcTiff.) Deum factum esse, natura vero nu- 
dum hominem. f ictum esse. — XII, It will be no mistake, then, if we say, there 
are two Sons of God ; and that there were in Christ two i/TcyTa^^wf, or 
two distinct separately existing things, two forms or Trpiaob-m.. — XIII. But we 
must be careful not to commingle and confound the acts of these tvro Sons of 
God. Each acts alone, and without the other. The dizine Reason, with no 
cooperation of the man, speaks by Christ, instructs, discourses, sways the 
minds of the auditors, and performs the miracles. And on the other hand, the 
man, with no cooperation of the divine Reason dwelling in him, is begotten, is 
hui^ry, sleeps, walks, suffers pains, and dies. — XIV. At length, when the man 



Doctrines of Paul of Samosata. 03c) 

Christ had fnlfillcd his mission, the divine Reason li-ft the man, and rt'turned to 
God. Epi}'ha7iius, (Iltores. Ixv. J. 1. p. GU8.) • <^«3■} riajJxof E"x3-wv xo^cc tvx'p- 
),«j« (UCKcs, xui dvvixd-e Tr^of rov nar'ipj. Tiiis p:iss:ige is miserably t^all^,l:ited 
by Dion. Pelavius, (as aro many ol her pas>ages in Epiphanius.) {\\u^: ^od 
solum, inquit Paul us. advenicns verbnni, totum illud adminislravif, et nd patiom 
revertit. The true meaning of the passage is : The didne Rcaaon came {io 
the man Christ, long after his blrlh, and when in mature life,) and solelij (witli- 
out any conimnnity of action with the huniaa nature,) operated in Jii/n, <ind 
afterivards returned to God. 

I am aware, that learned men have made the sys!em of PauZ coincident with 
the commonly received doctrine of Nestorius concerning Christ. And it is easy 
to fall into sucli an opinion, if we take the words ot the ancients in the sense 
ordinarily given to them. And indeed there is some aflinity between the Nes- 
torian and the Samosatean views. Nor is this coincidence a recent discovery; 
for in the council of Ephesus, in the fifth century, it was supposed that Paul 
prepared the way for Nestorius. (Sec Harduin's Concilia, ton), i. p. 1271.) 
And in the sixth century, Simeon Bethnrsamensis, (in Assemaii^a Biblioth. Client. 
Clement. Vaticana, torn. i. p. 347.) tells us: Ex Pa.ulo Samosateno orta est 
ha^resis duarum naturarum (or rather, personarum) et propriitatum, opera- 
tionumque earum. Simeon here refers to the Neslorian heresy. — Yet thcrb 
renlly was a wide difference between Nestorius and Paid. The former admit 
ted a plurality of persons in God ; and he so coupled the second person of tfm 
divine nature, or the Son, wiih the person of the man born of Mary, that ihe> 
continued to be two distinct persons. Neither of these positions was admitteci 
by Paul; who denied any distinction of persons in God, and supposed that the 
mere reason or wisdojn of God, was temporarily joined with the man Christ, and 
on this account, he acknowledged but one person in Christ. 

(3) That more than one council was assembled at Antioch hgainst Paul of 
Samosata, is certain, from Eusebius, (Hist. Eccles. L. vii. c. 28, p. 278 ) and from 
others. But how many councils were held, cannot ca>ily be determined, [p. 715.] 
That the last was held in 269, has been proved by Tillcmonf. and otiiers, by 
arguments of the most satisfactory natni'c. (See Tillcmoni., I\Iemoires pour 
- - - - I'Histore de I'Eglise, tome iv. p. 6J5.) In the preceding councils, as 
Eusebius says, Dogmalis sua) novitatcm oceultabat. (See aUo Theodoret, HaD- 
rel. Fabul. L. ii. p. 222, 223.) Being more crafty than his adversaries, Paul 
deceived the bishops with his ambiguous terms, so that they thought him free 
from error. Tliis might easily be done, as may be inferred from what has been 
said respecting his sentiments; and especially before men who were,' indeed, 
well disposed in regard to God and religion, but, as is quilc evident, were with- 
out human learning, simple-hearted, and wholly unacquainted with the art of 
disputation. Paul, as we have seen, expressed his oi)inions in the very words 
and phrases used in the bible, and did not deny that Christ is Gcd, and the So7i 
of God, and that in God we must distingui-^h the Father, Son, and holy Sj)irit: 
but to these terms he affixed a different meaning, which the inexperienced would 
not perceive. There was need, therefore, of a more i)erspicacious disputant, 
who could draw the man out of his hiding-places, and strip him of his disguises, 



240 Century Ill—Section 35. 

by queries, interrogatories, and accurate distinctions. And such a man was 
at length found in Malchion, then a presbyter in the church at Antioch ; who 
had once been a teacher of eloquence, and had presided over the school of the 
Sophists at Antioch, and, therefore, understood well all the artifices by which 
the rhetoricians of that age managed a bad cause. This man, by vanquishing 
Paul in argument, is a tacit witness to what I asserted, that the other persona 
engaged in this controversy, even the bishops, were men deficient in learning 
and talents, and inadequate arbiters in such subtle controversies. The records 
of this discussion, with few exceptions, have perished : but the point at issue 
between this Samosatean and Malchion, may be learned from Themloret ; who 
tells us, (Hccret. Fabul. L. ii. c. 8, 0pp. torn. iv. p. 223,) that Malchion demon- 
strated : That Paul considered Christ to be avd-pam-ov d-iiag :^d/!/Tos J^iaztpovTus 
yi^iaufxivovy hominem insigniter divind gratid ornatum. By artful and deceptive 
phraseology, therefore, Paul had endeavored to persuade the bishops, and per- 
haps had actually persuaded some of them, that he held Christ to be God ; but 
Malchion, by his eloquence and skill, detected those artifices by which the good 
bishops had been beguiled. Paul was condemned and deposed, by the suffrages 
of the bishops. But, as Eusehius informs us, (ubi supr, p. 282.) he refused to 
vacate (tou tiis iKJiK}t<riai liKov) the house of the church. This phraseology 
shows, as learned men have remarked, that the bishops of Antioch resided in the 
same house, in which the church ordinarily assembled. And Paul not only con- 
tinued to occupy the house, but also to perform the functions of a bishop ; as 
we are expressly told by Theodoret, (ubi supr. p. 223) : T«v t«s enKXna-ias Kitrli^n 
[p. 716.] -i^yifjioviav. Praefecturam ecclesia3 dimittere nolebat: notwithstanding 
the council (as Eusehius informs us) had appointed Domnus his successor. This 
however, would have been impossible, if the people of Antioch had regarded 
the decision of the council as obligatory. But, undoubtedly, the majority of the 
people chose to go with their bishop, rather than obey the council, although it 
was very large, and composed (as Eusehius says) ex innumerahilihus fere epis- 
copis. This fact is confirmed by the bishops of the council in their epistle, 
(apud Eusehium, ubi supr. p. 281.) for they complain, that Paul not only allowed 
Psalms to he sung in honor of himself in the church, and his praises to he cele- 
brated in the congregation, (iv rw Xaw,) but that he was also present in those 
assemblies, and did not rebuke persons who pronounced him to be aji angel 
from heaven, come among men, i. e. a teacher of the true wisdom which is from 
heaven. The christian population of Antioch, therefore, or at least a large por- 
tion of them, rejected the new bishop ; and remaining in communion with Paul, 
continued to resort to the house where he resided for the purpose of worship, 
and with willing ears listened to his praises publicly proclaimed from the pul- 
pit. The bishops, in their Epistle, express their great displeasure at this : but 
when I consider carefully the whole case, I think they must themselves have 
caused the evil in part. For they disregarded the rights of the people, in the 
creation of a new bishop ; and they do not conceal the fact, that they alone, with- 
out any regard to the judgment and authority of the people, placed Domnus 
over the church of Antioch, and ordered Paul to retire from his post. They say: 
H'vat.5^xaff"3"))iMfV trefov dvT* duTou t« Kst-'^oXixJi iKKKixrict xArAa-rtia-Ai. NoS cpis- 



Contests with Paul of Samosata. 211 

copi coacti fuimus alium ejus loco episcopura ecclesias cathollcae pra?ponere. 
They acted alone in the appointment; for they make no mention of tiie 
people, or of the church. And therefore, the people of Antioch stood up for 
their rights, and denied that it was lawful for the council, without their know- 
ledge or consent, to undertake so great a matter, and substitute another man in 
place of their old bishop. And this shows us, how Paw?, though condemned by 
so many bishops, was able for three years to hold a position, of which he had 
been pronounced unworthy. The people favored him : and if they had deserted 
him, the affair would have soon terminated. And yet I do not consider it an 
idle supposition of some, that queen Zenobia, the patroness of Paul, jiffbrded 
him aid. But after her subjugation, in the year 272, the case was carried before 
the emperor Aurelian, (who had not then become hostile to the christians ;) and 
he, after hearing the case, decided, (as Eusebiits tells us): Tovron vlt/xAt tov 

Mitov, on av ll KATa T«v iVaXfav Jtat riiV Vcefxaioiv Tfihiv E^TTiTKOTrct T6U S'iy- 

/M*Tof i-rivTixKouv. lis domum tradi debere, quibus Italici Christianas religi- 
onis antistites et Romanus episcopus scriberent: or, that the building should 
be surrendered to those ivhom the Italian bishops should by their letter approve. 
This decision of the emperor deserves, I think, a more careful examination than 
is usually given it. In the first place, the emperor pays no regard to the decision 
of the council against Paul : nor does he order his ejectment from the church, as 
Theodoret, and after him many others, represent. The decision was not [p. 717.] 
in relation to Paul and Domnus ; nor was the question, which of them was the 
true and lawful bishop of the church at Antioch: but the subject under consi- 
deration was, the possession of the house, and the rights of the parties who con- 
tended about it before the emperor's tribunal. Aurelian must have pronounced 
a very different sentence, if he approved the decree of the council, and decided 
that Paul was justly deprived of his office. It appears moreover, from this deci- 
sion, that there were two parties at Antioch, who contended for the house of the 
church before the emperor. For the decree speaks of them in the plural num- 
ber, (tcwtok ytifAAi^ K. T. K.) If the Antiochians had been agreed, and had 
united in a petition against Paul on his refusing to vacate the church, undoubt- 
edly, Aurelian would have decided in favor of the people against that single 
man : and he would not have referred the case to the judgment of the Italian 
bishops. But there was a division in the community at Antioch : no small part 
of the people — and perhaps also many of the neighboring bishops, (for among 
them, Paul had many friends ; as the Epistle of the bishops, preserved by Eu- 
sebius, testifies,) — took sides with Paul : while others preferred Domnus. And 
both these parties contended for the possession of the house. Hence, thirdly, 
the emperor being in doubt, and, from his ignorance of the christian religion, 
unable to determine which party had the most valid claim, without pronouncing 
any judgment, he committed the case to the decision of foreign and disinterested 
bishops. And lastly, having learned that it was customary with the christians 
to submit all their religious controversies to the determination of councils, he 
thought the christian rule should be followed in this case ; and therefore ht 
directed the bishop of Rome to assemble the Italian bishops, to hear and judge 
the case ; and he decreed that the decision of such a council should bind the 
VOL. n. 17 



242 Century III— Section 36. 

parties. There are also, as I apprehended, some implications in tliis decree of 
the emperor, wliich throw light on the discipline of the christians in that age, 
and show us, that the Li>hop of Rome could decide nothing by himself, in the 
controversies referred to him, but was obliged to assemble the bishops of Italy 
in a council. It hence appears very manifest, unless I am greatly deceived, that 
the writers on ecclesiastical affairs w-holly misrepresent this act of the emperor, 
and that the thing should be understood very differently. Fred. Spanheim, (in his 
Instit. Hist. Eccl. 0pp. tom. I. p. 751,) says: Quum parere nollet, ac aedibus 
episcopalibus excedere Paulus, ab ipso Aureliano imperatore coercendus fuit. In 
the same manner many others : and all of them wrong. Some tell us, more dis- 
tinctly, that the whole congregation of Antioch went before the emperor, and 
besought him to expel the degenerate bishop whom the council had condemned 
from the house of the church ; and that the emperor consented : — which is no 
nearer the truth. The fact was this. There were two parties at Antioch, the 
one adhered to Paul, and the other regarded Domnus as the true bishop; and 
[p. 718.] they litigated before the emperor, respecting the house of the church, 
and not — be it carefully noted — respecting the bishop. And this was wise. If 
they had carried their contest about the bishop before the emperor, they w^ould 
have exposed to its enemies those evils in the church, which should be kept 
from public view; and they would undoubtedly have increased the odium under 
which they already lay. Besides, the question respecting the bishop, being a 
religious one, they considered it as not pertaining to the emperor's jurisdiction. 
But the controversy concerning the house, was purely of a civil nature, and • 
therefore could be carried into the forum. Aurelian did not venture to adjudge 
the house in question to either of the litigating parties. For the Roman laws, 
as is manifest, could not be applied to the case. The emperor, therefore, per- 
mitted it to be tried by the christian ecclesiastical laws, and appointed for judges 
the bishop of Rome with the other bishops of Italy; because the oriental 
bishops, having sympathy with the parties, could not be safely trusted to decide 
the case. Such being the facts, I cannot agree with them who can see, in this 
transaction, evidence of the emperor's good will towards the christians. For 
nothing can be inferred from this decree of his, except that he would not at that 
time have the christians molested ; and this, probably, for what we should call 
political reasons, or from motives of state polic3^ Neither can I accord with 
those, who suspect that Aurelian was influenced by hatred to Zenobia, whom he 
knew to be friendly to Paul ; and that therefore he decided the case against 
him. For there was no controversy respecting Paul, before the emperor ; nor 
is there any indication of ill-will towards him, in the edict of Aurelian. 

§ XXXYI. The Arabians reclaimed by Origen. Seduced also 
by philosophy, be3^ond a doubt, were those Arabian followers of 
an unknown leader, who supposed the soul of man to die luith the 
body; and that it would hereafter, along with the body, be restored 
by God to life. As the parent of this sect is unknown, they are de- 
nominated Arabians, from the country they inhabited. The distur- 



Benejicial Effects of PlL'dosophy. 243 

bances produced by this sect in Arabia, under the emperor 
Philip^ were quieted by Origen; who, being sent for, discussed 
the subject with so much eloquence, in a pretty numerous coun- 
cil, called for the purpose, that the friends of the error gave up 
their opinion.(^) 

(1) All that we know of this sect, — which is very little, — is to be found in 
Eusehius, (Hist. Eccl. L. vi. c. 37. p. 233). Those adhering to it, believed — I. 
That the soul is only the vilal power, pertaining to, and moving the human 
body. — II. Hence they concluded, that when the body dies, the soul also be- 
comes extinct; as Eusehius says: (ruvctTrob-Vrta-niiv roi; o-co/uati Kui <ruvJ'tapd-iipi(r^-ai. 
This language can have no other meaning than that above expressed. Those, 
therefore, are not to be regarded, who make tiiis sect agree with the [p. 719.] 
so-called Psj/chopannychians ; or, with those that believe human souls to be, in- 
deed, distinct essences from the body, and that they continue to live or exist 
when the body dies, but that they are destitute of consciousness and per- 
ception, and, as it were, sleep, when separate from the body. For those Arabians 
supposed the soul, not only to die with the body, but also to become exlinct. 
They, therefore, must have held the soul to be a constituent part of the body. — 
The author of this sect, I can suppose, was an Epicurean before he became a 
Christian. For there were, undoubtedly, in that age, adherents to the philoso- 
phy of Epicurus, both in Syria and Arabia. When he became a Christian, he 
attempted to combine with Christianity his philosophy respecting the soul ; or 
rather, he would modify Christianity by his philosophy. — III. He therefore 
taught his followers to believe, that God will hereafter recall to life the whole 
man, or will restore to the body that vital power which it lost at death. 

§ XXXVII. Benefits to Christianity from Philosophy. Yet, 

it must not be denied that Christianity received some ad- 
vantages from this disposition to elucidate theology by means ot 
philosophy. For, in the first place, certain doctrines, which had 
before been taught indistinctly and ambiguously, assumed a bet- 
ter form, and were better explained in the discussions with those 
who brought philosophy into the church. In the next place, the 
growth and progress of the Gnostic sects were more forcibly 
and more successfully resisted than before, by such as brought in 
the aids of reason. For if the philosophical light, which shone in 
Origen and others, was not great, yet it was sufficient to dissipate, 
and entirely to overthrow the absurd fictions of these sects. And 
therefore, from the time when Christians began to cultivate philo- 
sophical knowledge, the Gnostics were unable to entice so many 
from the Catholic ranks into their camp, and to found so many 



244 Centimj Ill—Section 38. 

new associations, as in tlie preceding century, wlien they Avere 
assailed only with scriptural arguments.(') Lastly^ this light of 
human wisdom, though deceptive and dim, which some doctors 
wished to unite with the light of revelation, was useful in chasing 
from the church some opinions which the Christians had re- 
ceived from the Jewish schools, but which were thought by many 
to be of a holy and divine origin. 

(1) Those who combated the Gnostics with scriptural arguments, were in 
general poor interpreters of the Bible, as we may see by Irenccus, and they 
[p. 720.] delighted more in allegories, than in the proper sense of scripture. And 
the Gnostics opposed allegories to allegories; for the greater part of them 
hunted immoderately after mysteries and recondite senses in the sacred books. 
But which party expounded scripture most correctly, it is hard to say, as neither 
of them adopted any fixed rules, but merely followed their fancy. Besides, the 
Gnostics had many other modes of evasion, so long as they were assailed only 
on scriptural grounds. 

§ XXXYIII. Chiiiasm vanquished. Among the Jewish opinions, 
to which, in this age, Philosophy proved detrimental, the most 
distinguished was that of the reign of Christ on earth, a thousand 
years, with the saints restored to their bodies. This opinion, I 
believe, was introduced into the church near the commencement 
of the Christian commonwealth. And down to the times of Ori- 
gen, all the teachers who were so disposed, openly professed and 
taught it ; although there were some who either denied it, or at 
least called it in question. But Origen assailed it fiercely ; for it 
was repugnant to his philosophy : and, by the system of biblical 
interpretation which he discovered, he gave a different turn to 
those texts of scripture on which the patrons of this doctrine 
most relied. The consequence was, that this error lost its influ- 
ence with most Christians. But, a little past the middle of this 
century, Nepos, an Egyptian bishop, endeavored to revive it and 
give it currency, by an appropriate treatise, which he called a 
Confutatio Allegoristamm. This book was admired by many in 
the district of Arsinoe, and was thought to confirm the visible 
reign of Christ on earth, by the most solid arguments. Hence 
great commotions arose in that part of Egypt, and many congTe- 
gations gladly resumed their expectation of the future millennium. 
But these commotions were quieted by Dionysius^ the bishop of 
Alexandria, a pupil of Origen^ and inheriting his preceptor's learn- 



Chiliasm Vanquished. 245 

ing, as well as his mildness of disposition. In the first place, 
he held a discussion with one Coracion^ the head and leader of 
the controversy, and with his followers ; in which, by his admo- 
nitions, arguments, and exhortations, he induced them to give up 
the opinion tliey had derived from the treatise of Nepos: and 
afterwards, to stop up the fountain of the evil, he wrote a confu- 
tation of Nepos^ in two books, entitled de Promissionihus divinis. 
In the second book of this work he very discreetly treated par- 
ticularly on the authority of the Apocalypse of St. John ; from 
which Kepos had derived the chief support of his opinion.(') 

(1) The controversy respecting the reign of Christ on the earth, which [p. 721.] 
originated from tiie book of the Egyptian bishop, Nepos, against those he called 
Allegorists, — all the writers on ecclesiastical history, narrate to us from Euse- 
bins, (Hist. Eccl. L. vii. c. 24, &c. p. 271, &c.) and from Gennadius of Mar- 
seilles, (de Dogmat. Eccles. cap. Iv. p. 32.) for these are the only fathers, who 
make formal mention of it. Nor is there any great deficiency in their account, 
so far as the controversy itself is concerned, and aside from the causes which 
produced it : and yet their statements appear to me rather jejune, and do not 
embrace every thing important to a correct understanding of the controversy. 
I will therefore add some things, wliich I deem worthy of being known. — The 
doctrine of a future reign of Christ on the earth, a thousand years, with the 
saints, was undoubtedly of Jeivish origin ; and it was brought into the church, 
along with other Jewish notions, by those Jews who embraced Christianity. 
All Jews have not held one opinion, as to the termination of the Messiah's 
reign ; and yet many among them, even at the present day, limit it to a thou- 
sand years. Among both the ancients and the moderns, many have supposed, 
that Cerinlhus first propagated this error among the Christians. Few, however, 
will readily agree with them, if they consider, that this sentiment was embraced 
by many, — e. g. Irenaeus, TertuUian, and others, — who abhorred Cerinthus, and 
accounted him a pest to Christianity, Nor do I think Eusebius is to be trusted, 
when he tells us, (Hist, Eccl. L. iii. c. 39. p. 112.) that the expectation of a 
millennium, flowed down to the subsequent doctors, from Papias, a bisiiop of 
Jerusalem in the second century. For, as Papias was not the first excogitator 
of the opinion, but received it from others, as Eusebius himself concedes, it is 
elear, that at least some Christians before Papias, had embraced this opinion ; 
and therefore, those after him who received it, may have learned it from those 
who lived before him. And Irenccus (contra Hrereses L. v, c, 33, p, 333.) cites 
Papias, not as being the author of tliis opinion, but as bearing his testimony to 
it. It is most probable, that several of tlie Jewish Christians, to produce some 
agreement between the Jewish doctrine of an earthly kingdom of the Messiah, 
and the christian doctrine of our Saviour's kingdom of heaven, and to combine 
the Jewish expectation with that of Christians, — conceived in their minds, and 
also taught, that there is a twofold kingdom of Christ, and a twofold expecta- 
tion of his disciples : and many of the christian teachers either a])proved this 



246 Century IIL—Section 38. 

device, or tolerntcd it, as thc}' did many otliers, in order to focilitate the transi- 
tion of Jews to the christian community. We know, how much inclined men 
are to combine the ideas they have received from their ancestors, with those 
which they are compelled by evidence to admit ; nor are we ignorant how 
much was conceded, in the first ages of the church, to the weakness of the Jews. 
But, however this may be, it is certain that in the second century, the opinion 
that Christ would reign a thousand years on the earth, was diffused over a great 
[p. 722.] part of Christendom ; and that the most eminent doctors favored it ; 
and no controversy with them was moved by those who thought otherwise. 
Terlullian (contra Marcionem, L. iii. c. 24. p. 299. edit. Rigalt.) speaks of it as 
the common doctrine of the whole church. He says : Confitemur, (Mark ; he 
speaks without limitation ; not a particle, to intimate that the sect of the Mon- 
tanists, to which he belonged, differed from other christians on this subject,) — 
confitemur, in terra nobis regnum repromissum, sed ante coelum, sed alio statu 
(Then inserting some remarks on the nature of this kingdom, he proceeds :) 
Ha3C ratio regni terreni, post cujus mille annos, intra quam aetatem concludi- 
tur sanctorum resurrectio, et qua) sequuntur. — As we learn from Jerome, (Catal. 
Scriptor. Eccl. c. IS.) and from the passage of Tertullian just quoted, Terlullian 
had written a book expressly on the subject, entitled de Spe Fidelium : but the 
book is lost. He errs, however, in attributing to the wliole church, an opinion 
which was held only by a large part of it. Yet this is certain, from Justin 
Martyr, (Dial, cum Tryph. p. 243. 247. edit. Jebbii,) and others, that very 
many, and they men of great influence, thought as he did ; nor were they, on 
that account, taxed with corrupt doctrine. One Caius, indeed, a Roman pres- 
byter, in a dispute with Proclus, (as we learn from Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. L. iii. 
c. 28. p. 100.) criminates Cerinthus, for holding out the expectation of a terres- 
trial kingdom of Christ, abounding in all sorts of pleasures ; but his phraseology 
puts it beyond controversy, that he censured, not so much that reign of Christ, 
as the corporeal pleasures in it which he supposed, truly or falsely, Cerinthus 
had promised. For there were, in that age, two opinions respecting this kingdom 
of Christ. Some supposed, that in it holy men would live in the same manner 
as men now do, and would freely indulge in all the pleasures w-hich can be de- 
rived fro!n the senses. Others, although they did not exclude all the sensual 
delights from that new kingdom of Christ, (which, for various reasons, was im- 
possible,) yet they supposed its chief happiness to consist in the joys and plea- 
sures of the mind. Says Tertullian, (in the passage before cited, p. 499.) : 
Hanc novara civitatem dicimus excipiendis resurrectione Sanctis et refovendis 
omnium bonorum utique spiritualium copid in corapen.sationem eorum, qua; in 
saeculo vel despeximus, vel amisimus, a Deo prospectam. Si quidem et justum 
et Deo dignum, illic qnoque exultaro faniulos ejus, ubi sunt et atllieti in nomine 
ipsius. Whoever reads this passage carefully, will clearly perceive, that the 
patrons of this opinion expected sensual enjoyments in that kingdom of Christ; 
for it says, Tlie saints will be refreshed, in compensation for the pleasures, which 
in their former life they renounced for Christ's sake. But from these pleasures 
they excluded all lusts, and promised a higher delight in spiritual things. 
[p. 723.] Those who were addicted to the former opinion, were again divided 



CJiUiasiii Vanquished. 247 

into two classes, as we shall soon see ; but both were eonsiilercd as doing a 
great injury to Christ, and to the promises lie has left us. On the other hand, 
the followers of the latter and more moderate opinion, were supposed to hold 
iiothintj very unbeeoming in a Christian, and were accounted as brethren. 

But in the third century, the reputation of this more modernte doctrine declined ; 
and first in Egypt, through the influence especially of Orlgcii ; and afterwards 
in the other portions of the christian world, in which the opinions of Origcn 
gradually acquired a high reputation. And yet it could not be exterminated in 
a moment; it still had, here and there, some respectable advocates. Origcn^ 
in various passages of his works still extant, censures and rebukes, vehemently, 
those who anticipated an earthly kingdom of Christ, and sensual pleasures in 
it. And in the eleventh chapter of the second Book of his work de Principiis, 
(0pp. tom. i. p. 104, &-c.)he assails them expressly, both with philosophical 
arguments, and the exegetical principles wiilch he had adopted. In this cluipter, 
which is entitled Of the Promises, although he appears to assail only those 
patrons of a millennial kingdom, who promised themselves in it nuptials, festivi- 
ties, offices, honors, palaces, &:.c. or, to use his own language, Secundum vitse 
hujus conversationem per omnia similia fore putabant omnra quas de repromis- 
sionibus expectantnr, id est, ut iterum sit hoc, quod est ; yet, by opposing his 
own doctrine concerning the divine Promises to theirs, he refutes also those 
who expressed themselves more refinedly and wisely, respecting the joys and 
felicities of this kingdom. For he utterly deprives souls, separated from the 
body, of all hope of receiving pleasure from the senses; destroys all expectation 
of any kingdom, to be established by Christ on this earth ; and maintains, that 
God has promised nothing to souls, except an increase of knowledge, both 
natural and revealed. In this discussion, there are some things of which even 
modern philosophers need not be ashamed. For he infers from the boundless 
desire of knowledge natural to the mind, that God will satisfy that desire : and 
therefore, that the soul, if duly prepared in this life, and purified from its de- 
filements, will, after its retirement from the body, mount on high, rove among 
the celestial orbs, discern clearly and manifestly, things which it only knew 
obscurely, while it resided in the body and was clogged by the senses, and will 
also comprehend the grounds and reasons of all the divine plans and opera- 
tions. — But I am diverging from my subject. — Origen was more decidedly op- 
posed to this doctrine of an earthly kingdom of Christ, affording pleasures, 
than others were, partly in consequence of the philosophy he embraced, and 
partly by the system of biblical interpretation which he exclusively approved. 
Agreeably to the system of philosophy which he adopted, human bodies are the 
penitentiaries of souls, which are doing penance for the sins they com- [p. 724.] 
mitted in a former life ; the senses, and the use of the senses by the soul, are 
a great impediment to the celestial and rational soul ; they prevent it from dis- 
cerning and fully knowing the truth ; sensitive pleasures and delights, even 
such as are lawful, allure to evil and poison the soul ; the man, therefore, who 
is desirous of salvation, should withdraw his attention from the senses and from 
pleasures, and should nourish his soul with the contemj)lation of .things alto- 
gether foreign from the senses ; the comforts and conveniences of life should 



248 Century Ill.—Section 38. 

be avoided ; and the body should be treated with rigor, and be divested of its 
natural energies. A man imbued with such sentiments, could by no means 
believe, that Christ will set up a kingdom on earth, in which his friends, clothed 
with new bodies, will enjoy the pleasures of sense. On the other hand, Origen 
was obliged to modify and debase the christian doctrine of the future resurrec- 
tion of our bodies and of the reunion of our souls to them, so that it should 
contain nothing opposed to his opinion of the nature of a rational soul : and 
that he did so, is very well known. — And then, how much the method of in- 
terpreting the bible, which he prescribed, might dissuade him from admitting 
this millennial kingdom, the copious remarks already made upon it, will mnke 
manifest. For he wished to have the literal and obvious sense of the words dis- 
regarded, and an arcane sense, lying concealed in the invelop of the words, to 
be sought for. But the advocates of an earthly kingdom of Christ, rested their 
cause solely on the natural and proper sense of certain expressions in the bible; 
e. g. Matth. v. 6. and xxvi. 29. Luke xix. 17. and other similar passages, named 
by Irenccus and Origen. His mind, therefore, could not help revolting fron* 
their opinion ; and he accounted it a great reproach to them, that they neglect- 
ed what he considered the marrow of the sacred books, and dwelt only upon 
their exterior. He says, (de Principiis, L. ii. c. 11. § 2. p. 104.): Quidam la- 
borem quodammodo intelligentia3 recusantes, et superficiem quandam legis 
literse consectantes - - Apostoli Pauli de resurrectione corporis spiritali (Mark 
this language,) sententiam non sequentes. And having expatiated much on 
tliis censure, he closes with the following sentence : Hoc ita sentiunt, qui Chris- 
to quidem credentes, Judaico autem quodam sensu scripturas divinas intelli- 
gentes, nihil ex his dignum divinis pollicitationibiis prsesumpserunt. See also> 
what he snys in his xviith tome on Matth. (0pp. torn. iii. p. 826. &.c. of the new 
edit.) where he reckons it a great excellence of TropoUogy, (such is his term 
for the allegorical mode of interpretation,) that the defenders of a millennial 
kingdom cannot be confuted in any other manner. In the Prologue to his 
Commentary on the Canticles, (0pp. torn. iii. p. 28.) he promises a formal dis- 
cussion, in another place, with such as anticipate sensual pleasures in a kingdom 
[p. 725.] of Christ : and perhaps he fulfilled his promise. Simpliciores quidam 
nescientes distinguere ac secernerc, qute sint qua3 in scripturis divinis interior! 
homini, quai vero exteriori deputanda sint, vocabulorum similitudinis falsi ad 
ineptas quasdam fabulas et figmenta inania se contulerint : ut etiam post resur- 
rectionem cibis corporalibus utendum crederent. - - Sed de his alias videbimus. 
This bitter and censorious language shows, how odious this sect was to Origen. 
The opinion which Origen resisted with so much resolution, Nepos, a bishop 
of some unascertained city in Egypt, endeavored to restore to its former credit, 
by a work written in defence of it, which he intitled cKty^ov Axxnyopta-rwi 
?.6ycvy Covfutalionem Allegorislarum. The opposers of this kingdom of Christ, 
he called Allegorists ; because they maintained that the texts of scripture, on 
Wiiich the friends of the doctrine rested its defence, were allegories or mere me- 
taphors. This appellation seems to have been given them in contempt by their 
antagonists, as early as the times of Irenccus. See his work (contra. Haeres. L. 
V. c. 35, p. 335.) Yet I can scarcely doubt, that Nepos had especially before his 



ChiUasm Vanquished. 249 

mind Ongcn and liis disciples; who were spoken atrainst by raany on account 
of their excessive love of allegories, and who, by their principles of interpreta- 
tion, pressed very hard upon the friends of a millennial kingdom. But Nepos 
was not one of those extravagant ChUiasis, of whom Cerinthus is said to linve 
been the leader, and who taught that all kinds of corporeal pleasures are to be 
expected in the approaching kingdom of Christ: but he agreed with the other 
and more moderate class, who, although they did not exclude all sensual plea- 
sures from the kingdom of Christ, yet circumscribed them within very narrow 
limits. For this we have the testimony of Gennadius of Marseilles ; (de Eccles. 
Dogmatibus, cap. Iv. p. 32,) who, while he leaves the doctrine of Nepos in much 
obscurity, yet says enough to show, that Nepos did not belong to the company 
of the Cerinthians. And his antagonist Dionysius, makes him to have been an 
estimable man, and among other commendable acts, ascribes to him the compo- 
sition of very beautiful hymns. Gennadius says : In divinis promissionibus, 
nihil terrenura vel transitorium expectemus, sicut Melitani sperant. Non nuptia- 
rum copulam, sicut Cerinthus et Marcion delirant. Non quod ad cibum vel ad 
potum pertinet, sicut Papia auctore, Irenceus et Tertullianus et Lactantius acqui- 
escunt. Neque post mille annos (I suspect here is a corrupt reading, and that 
the word post before mille, should be omitted. For Nepos did not teach that 
Christ's kingdom was to commence after a thousand years, but that it was to 
continue a thousand years) post resurrectionem regnum Christi in terra futurum, 
et sanctos cum illo in deliciis regnaturos speremus, sicut Nepos doeuit, qui pri- 
mam justorum resurrectionem et secundam impiorum confinxit. This passage 
is well framed for discriminating the various sects of the so called Millenarians 
of the early ages. For Gennadius enumerates four opinions among [p. 726.] 
them. T\\e first is that of the Melitani, which is here obscurely stated, and, so 
far as I know, is not explained by any of the ancients. The second is that of 
Cerinthus and Marcion, who promised men pleasures of every kind, and especi- 
ally those arising from the conjunction of the sexes, and therefore allowed a 
place for nuptials in the new Jerusalem. The third class was a little more de- 
cent. It included Papias, Irenccus, and others. These were indeed ashamed to 
admit of marriages in that kingdom ; yet they did not hesitate to allow, that its 
citizens would enjoy the pleasures of eating and drinking. But the food ad- 
mitted by them, was not to be like ours, gross, oppressive, and hard of diges- 
tion, but of a higher character, more excellent, and more subtile. Hence, it 
appears also, that the bodies they assigned to the just when recalled to life, 
would be more excellent, more sprightly, and more etherial than ours. The 
fourth opinion was that of Nepos, who taught in general, that the saints will reign 
in delights. The nature of these delights Gennadius does not explain. But as 
he distinctly represents Nepos as differing from all those before named, it is 
clear, that he did not include connubial pleasures, nor those of feasting and 
carousing, among the delights of the citizens of Christ. He doubtless conceded 
to them very splendid, convenient, and agreeable mansions, serene and ])Ieasant 
skit's, the delights of the eye, the ear, the smell, and perhaps also some new and 
etherial kind of aliment, suitable for bodies entirely dlirerent from ours and pos- 
sessing almost the nature of spirits. But the greatest part of their happiness 



250 Centimj III. —Section 33. 

was to consist in niontal pleasures, in continual intercourse with perfectly holy 
minds, in tiie contemplation of the providence and works of God, in their daily 
advance in the knowledge of divine and human things, in the exercise of t!ie 
purest love, and in the joy arising from an increase of knowledge and intelli- 
gence. — The book, in which Nefos set forth his opinions, was admired especially 
by one Coracioriy a presbyter doubtless in the province of Arsinoe, and also by 
many other citizens of that province. I suppose it was WTitten in an eloquent 
and pleasing style, and on that account, more than from the force of its reason- 
ing, it charmed the minds of the incautious. For as Dionysius (cited by Euse- 
bius) tells us, Ntpos was an elegant poet, and had composed very beautiful 
hymns, which were sung in all the churches of Egypt. And I therefore iiave 
no doubt, his work was written in a tlowery style, such as poets usually adopt. 
That Cnracion was a presbyter of some village in the province of Arsinoe. ^ippears 
to me evident from the language used by Dionysius (in Eusebius p. 272.) For 
he says, that when he wished to confute publicly the opinion of JVepos, he called 
together the presbyters and teachers who taught in single xillages. From this it 
appears, that no one of the bishops embraced the opinion of Nepos ; nor did the 
doctrine find adherents in the cities, but only in the villages and hamlets. He 
[p. 727.] also informs us, that Coracion, when convinced of his error, promised 
no more to preach {^iS'aTx.uv) that doctrine to the people. He therefore sustained 
the office of a preacher and presbyter in some village. But the opinion so high- 
ly approved by Coracion and many other, though it was quite moderate, and 
differed much from the fictions of the grosser Chiliasts, could by no means find 
approbation with Dionysius, who, as abundantly appears, was much attached to 
the principles of Origen. For, that souls once happily released from their pri- 
sons, should again become united to bodies possessing sensations and appetites, 
and su.'^ceptible of sensual pleasures, and should, during a thousand years, use 
the perishable good things of this life and the allurements to all evil, was wholly 
repugnant to the precepts taught by Origen to his followers. Therefore, first, 
in a public discussion of three days continuance, in the very province where the 
error prevailed, Dionysius confuted the arguments of JSepos; and then also, in 
two written tracts, he demonstrated that all the promises of Christ's kingdom 
had reference to the soul and to the celestial world. In the second tract he la- 
bored, not indeed to destroy, but to diminish, the credit of those divine visions 
of St. John, from which Nepos had drawn his principal arguments; by contend- 
ing that the book called the Apocalypse was not the work of St. John the 
Apostle, but of some other person of the same name ; a holy man, indeed, and 
one divinely inspired, yet inferior to an Apostle. This discussion respecting the 
Apocalypse of St. John, a part of which is preserved by Eusebius, contains 
several things both interesting and useful to be known : not the least of which 
is this, that Dionysius evidently supposed, there were diflerent degrees of what 
is called divine inspiration; and that greater light and power were divinely im- 
parted to the Apostles when they wrote, than to other writers who were influ- 
enced by the holy Spirit, but who had not the honor to be Apostles. For in the 
close of his discourse he tells us, that St. John, through the divine munificence, 
manifestly received not only the gift of knowledge, but also that of ntterajice or 



Hise of Mamcha'ism. 251 

eloquence. Td ^dpia-fxct TMf yYO}<rtai, )tai tyu ^piia-tai. But tlie Writer of the Apo- 
calypse, lie thinks, received indeed from God yvticriv and Trpopmtiav, the gift of 
knowledge and -prophecy^ but not that t«j ippda-iwi, or that (/ utterance and elo- 
quence. Therefore his inspiration was less perfect than that of John and the 
other Apostles. What consequences may be drawn from this doctrine, I need 
not state. But it is very probable, that Dionysius supposed, the doctrines of 
reliiTion can be fully proved only from the writings oi Apostles, to whom, as he 
supposed, God granted complete inspiration, and not from the writings of those, 
to whom was given less full inspiration, or inspiration inferior to the Apostoli- 
cal. For unless he supposed so, the object of his elaborate discussion respect- 
ing the author of the Apocalypse, cannot be discovered. — Perhaps the remark is 
worth adding, that it appears from the account Dionysius gives of his [p. 728.] 
conference with the followers of Nepos, that he pursued with them the Socratic 
and Platonic mode of discussion, that by questions and answers : which shows in 
what school he had been trained. 

§ XXXIX. Rise of Manichaeism. Amid tliese efforts of tlie 
more sagacious Christian doctors, by means of pliilosopliy, to ar- 
rest the progress of the Gnostic sects, and to purge Christianity 
from Jewish defilements, a little past the middle of the century, 
a new pest, worse than all that preceded, invaded the church 
from Persia; and, although the greatest and wisest men with- 
stood it, both in oral discussion and in books, yet they could not 
l^revent its spreading with surprising rapidity, almost throughout 
Christendom, and captivating a vast multitude of persons of 
moderate talents and judgment. Manes, a man of uncommon 
genius, eloquence, and boldness, and richly endowed w^ith all the 
qualities which can easily move and inflame the popular mind, — 
either misled by some mental disease, or actuated by the love of 
fame, devised a new system of religion, which was a strange com- 
pound of the ancient Persian philosophy and Christianity ; and 
boldly urged it upon the people, as being divinely communicated 
to men. The man himself experienced very adverse fortune, and 
died a miserable death ; but the .way of salvation which he pro- 
posed, though full of monstrous ideas and puerile conceptions, 
and in no respect superior to the Gnostic fables, and more absurd 
than most of them, obtained a wddcr circulation than any of the 
sects of the preceding times. Nor will this be strange to a per- 
son understanding its character. For, if we regard its doctrines, 
they are all popular, and explain whatever is abstruse and diffi- 
cult of comprehension, in the manner best suited to vulgar ap- 
prehension ; and if we regard its moral precepts, they are gloomy, 



252 Century Ill.—Section 39. 

and impress tlie beholder with a great show of sanctity, self- 
denial, and contempt for worldly things. Such systems of religion, 
though void of solidity, yet, through the weakness of human 
nature, generally find many friends and followers.(^) 

(1) or nil the sects in the first ages of the church, none is more notorious, 
none was more difTicult to be subdued and put down, none had a greater num- 
ber of friends, than that founded by Manes; a prodigy of a man, and venerable 
[p. 729.] in a degree, even in the frenzy by which he was actuated. There is 
much similarity between him and Mohammed; for the former, like the latter, 
boasted of divine visions, proclaimed himself divinely commissioned to reform 
the corrupted religion of the Christians, and restore it to its original perfection; 
showed a book, which he falsely stated was dictated to him by God, and sought 
to obtrude it upon mankind; and finally, has left the succeeding ages in doubt, 
whether he should be classed among the delirious and fanatical, or among the 
artful impostors. — The number of the ancient documents, from which the his- 
tory and the doctrines of Manes may be learned, is not inconsiderable. For, 
not to mention the well-known authors who wrote avowedly on the sects of the 
early times, namely, Epiphanius, Augustine, Eusebius, Theodoret, Damascenus, 
and Philasler; there are extant some of the writings o^ Manes himself, and his 
disciples, from which the opinions of the sect may be illustrated, and the false 
expositions of them be corrected. We have a large part of a tract of Manes, in 
n Latin translation from the original, whether Greek or Syriac, entitled Episiola 
Fundamenti ; contained in a work of Augustine, in confutation of it. We have 
a small part of his 8ermo de Fide, in Epiphanius, (Hseres. Ixvi. 14. torn. i. p. 630.) 
We have his Epistola ad Marcellum ; (in the Archelai Acta cum Manete, p. 6. 
edit. Zaccagnii.) We have some fragments of his Epistle to a certain woman, 
called Menoch; preserved by Augustine in his imperfect work adversus Julia- 
num Pelagianum. We have, lastly, some fragments of his Epistles, extracted 
from a manuscript in the Jesuits' College at Paris, and published by Jo. Alb. 
Fabricius, (in his Bibliotheca Graeca, vol. v. p. 284.) In the next place, there 
are extant the Acta disputationis Archelai, episcopi Mesopotamia:, cum Manete, 
first published by Laur. Alex. Zaccagnius, (in his Collectanea Monumentor. 
veteris Ecclesia) Gr. et Latinte, Rome, 1698, 4to.) and re-published by Jo. Alb. 
Fabricius, (in the second vol. of the Opera Hippolyti.) This is a very ancient 
work, and was known among Christians in the fourth century ; as is manifest 
from Cyril of Jerusalem, and from Epif.hanius. The credibility and authority 
of this tract are, indeed, learnedly impugned by Isaac de Beausobre, in his His- 
tory of Manichaeism, (vol. i. c. 12, 13. p. 129.) who thinks it a fable, composed 
by some Greek scribbler of the fourth century, about the year 330, and derived 
partly from hearsay, true or false, and partly from the ingenuity of the writer; 
and intended to exhihit the base character of the Manichaean errors. And he 
shows, plainly enough, that these acts contain some things, of the truth of which 
there is good reason to doubt. But, I think, he has not given evidence, that no 
such discussion ever occurred between Archelaus and Manes. This certainly 
cannot be legitimately inferred, from some few historical errors admitted, or 



Blse of Manichccism. 053 

seeming to be admitted, by the writer; nor from the silence of some amonrr the 
ancients and moderns respecting these Acts. Yet no better arguments [p. 730.] 
are offered by this very learned man, who possessed genius of a high ordc'r, but 
was too ready to question the credibility of the ancient Christian writers, and 
too often relied upon his own conjectures. But, be this as it may, these Acts 
are certainly of high antiquity ; and as the depreciator will not deny, they con- 
tain many things, either extremely probable, or having the appearance of 
truth. — We have, moreover, at this day, a book of Faiisius, a Manichasan bishop 
in Africa, in which he explains the doctrines of his sect, and defends them with 
all the eloquence and energy he possessed. This entire book, Augustine has 
very laudibly inserted in his confutation of it. To this work of Faustus, should 
be added two public disputes of Augustine with two Manicheean priests, Felix 
and Foriunatus; in both of which, the priests zealously plead the cause of their 
church, stating, at the same time, their sentiments. — Lastly, some of the early 
opposers of Manes, (of whom Fahricius has given a long list, in his Bibliotheca 
(jrseca, vol. v. p. 287.) have come down to us; and no competent and honest 
judge will accuse them of bad faith, in stating the opinions of the man they op- 
posed, or of inability to confute those opinions. Preeminent among them is 
Augustine^ the great doctor of the African church; whose writings against the 
Manichaeans, seem entitled to more consideration than those of others on the 
same side, because he was for ten years, or from the nineteenth to the twenty- 
eighth year of his life, a member of the Manichfean community, and had im- 
bibed all the principles of that sect. The learned Beausohre, just mentioned, 
objects, indeed, and denies that Augustine is one from whom the doctrines of 
the Manichaeans can be ascertained with correctness; and he seeks to confirm 
this decision by examples. Nor is he wholly wrong; for it must be acknow- 
ledged, that Augustine sometimes deduces consequences from the language and 
opinions of the Manichaeans, which they, his ancient associates, rejected ; which 
is a common thing with all polemics. I will also willingly admit, that he slightly 
modifies some opinions of his adversaries, in order to assail them with more 
effect. And yet I deliberately affirm, after examining well the subject, that in 
most things, one who wishes to understand the mysteries of Manichaeism, may 
follow Augustine without fear of being misled. Nor will the minor errors into 
which Augustine sometimes falls, prove injurious,. since he quotes the very 
words of Manes and Manichaeans, from which may be learned, without difficulty, 
whether he made a mistake or not. — Next to Augustine, among the antagonists 
of Manichaeism who have escaped the ravages of time, the most worthy of 
notice is Titus, bishop of Bostra, in Phenicia, whose Libri tres contra Mani- 
chaeos, together with the Argument of the fourth Book, (first published only in 
Latin,) are now extant, Greek and Latin, in the Lectiones antiqua; of [p. 731.] 
Henry Canisius, as re-published by Ja. Basnage, (tom. i. p. 156, &c.) This 
work is carefully and accurately written; although it does not embrace the 
whole system of Manes, but only a very material part of it, drawn from his 
book de Mysteriis. In the same Lectiones antiquae, (tom. i. p. 197.) there is ex- 
tant, Greek and Latin, the Liber contra Manichajos of Didymus of Alexandria; 
but it is brief, and does not adequately explain the views of the Manichaeans. 



254 Centunj IIL—Sectlon 39. 

More to be recommended, is the ^o>-5f ^/>oj t-u? Uttnx^i'^^ cTo^ac, or Liber contra 
Manichcei opiniones, of Alexander, a philosopher of Lycopolis; published, Greek 
and Lat. by Francis Combefis, (in his Auetarium novissimum Bibliothecae Patr. 
torn. ii. p. 260.) But it requires a sagacious reader, and one not ignorant of the 
new Phitonic philosophy, to which the author was addicted, and the principles 
of whicli are made the basis of the argumentation. Alexander also passes over, 
or but slightly touches, many points very necessary to be known, in order to 
form a correct judgment of the controversy. Of other writers, inferior to these, 
and affording little aid to the investigator, I need not give account.— From the 
documents above described, yet without disregarding those which incidentally 
speak of the Manichaan doctrines, I will present to the view of my readers a 
brief, but faithful digest of the Manichsean system, methodically arranged, taking 
great care to state nothing as true, which is dubious and uncertain. 

A catalogue of modern writers, concerning the Manichseans, is given by Jo. 
Alb. Fahricius, (in his Bibliotheca Graeca, vol. v. p. 296.) but the best and most 
elaborate of them all, Fahricius could not mention, because his work was not 
then published. That writer is Isaac de Beausohre, a man of superior genius 
and of widely extended knowledge; whose History of Manes and Manichccism, 
written in French, was published at Amsterdam, 1734 and 1739, in two vols. 
4to. This work will do honor to the author's name, in all future ages, wherever 
letters, genius, learning, and all good arts shall be held in estimation ; for it ad- 
mirably elucidates many points of Christian antiquities, and contributes not a 
little to a correct knowledge of the doctrines held by those who, in the first 
ages of Christianity, receded from the general church and formed separate com- 
munities. And yet, as in all human composition, so in this work of diversified 
learning and of vast labor, there are some things, which an impartial man, whose 
only aim is truth, could wish were otherwise. And first, in this history of Ma- 
nes and of Manichccism, there are many things which do not relate to the sub- 
ject. For the very learned author, who had read much, heard much, and 
treasured up much, upon every favorable occasion deviates from his subject, and 
pours forth abundance of matter, not at all necessary to our having a full know- 
ledge of Manes and his followers. These frequent and long digressions, though 
all of them contain useful matter, often embarrass the reader, and may cause 
[p. 732.] him sometimes to misapprehend the author's meaning. For when 
things in some way connected, but in other respects wholly unlike, are associ- 
ated and commingled, confusion may arise prejudicai to the truth. Still, this 
superabundance, as it has its utility, we can the more easily overlook in this ex- 
traordinary man. But it is a matter of greater moment, that the author strains 
every nerve of his ingenuity, to make nearly all the heretics of the early ages, 
and especially the Manichseans, appear to be more wise, more holy, more excel- 
lent, than they are commonly held to be. In this matter, as may be easily 
shown, this excellent man is first carried too far by a kind of ill-will towards the 
doctors of the ancient church ; and then, again, he is inconsistent with himself. 
For, frequently, when too much evidence presses upon him, he acknowledges, 
that among the heretics of the first ages there were men delirious and foolish ; 
and that Manes himself, whom he favors the most, was a splendid trifler, and 



L'lfc of Manes. 255 

either aimed to boiTuile and deceive others, or was liiniself deceived hy some 
vagary of his own mind : yet, at otiier times, he maintains that the very persons, 
vvlioni lie iiad bel'ore censured, were re:il philosopliers, and not weak men; and 
he not only defends and vindicates Manes, but actually honors him, not merely 
with the splendid iippellation of a philosopher, but of a philosopher lohn reasojis 
well. Thus this erudite man fluctuates, and is borne in opposite directions, 
being urged on the one side by regard for truth, and on the other, by his partiality 
for the heretics, especially for Manes. And in order the more easily to defend Ma- 
nes and the heretics generally, he either tacitly or expressly assumes as facts, 
some things which those who differ from him will not readily admit. Among these 
assumptions, the principal one is, that all the ancient doctors of the church, 
either from ignorance or from malice, calumniate the Jieretics, and misrepresent 
their sentiments. This is easily said ; but it is far more difficult to prove it, 
than they imagine, who in our age adopt it in treating of the history of the here- 
tics : and the number of such is well known to be great. Yet, relying on this 
maxim, this learned man, whenever he finds anything in fiivor of Manes or the 
other heretics, which seems not to accord with the decisions of his adversaries, 
confidently embraces it, as a thing not to be questioned at all, and applies it to 
overthrow the uniform statements of many other witnesses. And in such cases I 
never discover any want of learning and ingenuity, but I often see a deficiency 
of caution and fairness. — There is another of this learned man's rules, which is 
very dubious. It is, that whenever any doctrine attributed to the heretics con- 
tains things absurd, silly, futile, or contrary to common sense, then we must 
suppose that doctrine ft^lsely attributed to those heretics. It is well, however, 
that the learned man himself does not always follow this rule; for he is some- 
times compelled, reluctantly, to acknowledge, that Manes and others embraced 
not a few opinions wholly at variance with every appearance of rationality, the 
dreams of the delirious, rather than the judgments of men in their right minds. 
And yet he often resorts to that rule, although it is manifest that nothing could 
be more fallacious; and there are numberless examples of persons, not [p. 733.] 
wholly bereft of reason, yet most shamefully violating the first principles of 
reason, and debasing religion with the most silly fictions.— I will not mention 
other things, wliich might reasonably be censured, in a book otherwise most 
beautiful ; things, however, which ought to be so censured, as not to detract 
from the great merits and reputation of the author. 

§ XL. The Life and Labors of Manes. Eespecting tlie life and 
labors of Manes, there is great disagreement between tlie Greek 
and tbe Oriental writers ; and as this disagreement can in no way 
be reconciled, and both seem to have blended the true and the 
false, beyond the possibility of a separation at this late day, all 
that remains for us to do, is to state what they unitedly teach, 
and leave the rest to be discussed by the curious.(') The things 
in which they all agree, are substantially as follows : Manes, or 



25G Century Ill—Section 40. 

Manich^us, for lie is called by both names, was a native of 
Persia, a man of a venerable aspect, of an exceedingly fecund 
genius, was educated in the schools of the Magi, and was master 
of all the arts and learning, which the Persians of those times 
considered as constituting human wisdom. Having become ac* 
quainted with the books of the Christians, and perceiving that 
the religion they contained agreed, in some respects, with his 
philosophy, but disagreed with it in other respects, he formed the 
purpose of combining them, correcting and enlarging the one by 
the other, and then of inculcating on mankind a new system of 
religion, compounded of the two. Adopting this plan, he first 
decided that Jesus Christ left his statement of the way of salva- 
tion imperfect ; and in the next place, he ventured to declare him- 
self to be either a divinely taught Apostle of Jesus Christ, or 
rather that very Paraclete, or Comforter, whom the retiring 
Saviour promised to his disciples. (^) With what sincerity he as- 
sumed such a character, it is not easy to say. Some tell us, that 
being by nature proud, excessively arrogant, and vain, his heat- 
ed mind became deranged. Yet his insanity was not such as to 
prevent his digesting his system very well, and distinctly seeing 
[p. 734.] how it could be assailed, and how defended. Among 
other proofs of this, is the fact that he either wholly rejected, or 
essentially altered, whatever he found in the Christian scriptures 
apparently contrary to his doctrines and purposes ; and in place 
of the discarded passages, he substituted others, especially such 
as he wished to have considered as written by him under a divine 
inspiration.(^) — The king of Persia, for some cause not ascertain- 
ed, cast him into prison. Escaping from confinement, and call- 
ing to his aid twelve friends or Apostles, in imitation of Christ, 
he spread the religion he had devised, over a great part of Persia, 
persuading many to embrace it ; and he sent out the most elo- 
quent of his disciples into the adjacent countries, who were also 
successful. In the midst of these enterprises, by the command ot 
the king of Persia, he was seized by soldiers and put to death. 
This was probably in the year 278, or a little later. As to the 
mode of his death, writers are not agreed. That he was put to 
death, is very certain. The memorial of it, the Manicha^ans an- 
nually celebrated in the month of March, by a festal day, which 
they called Bema.{*) This sad fate of the man strengthened his 



Life of Manes, 257 

adherents, more than it terrified tlieni. For such of them as had 
the most talent and elo(iuenee, roamed over Syria, Persia, J^gypt, 
Afriea, and ahnost all ei)untries of the civilized world, and every- 
where converted many, by the gravity of their deportment, and 
by the rude simplicity of the religion they inculcated. 

(1) The iKvine of the man under consideration, was j\rANi; for so the Ori- 
ental writers call him, according to Herbeloi, (Bibliotheca Orient, voce Mani.) 
Nor was this an uncommon name among the Persians. The Greek writers tell 
us, that he was at first called Cubricus; and that he dropped that, and assumed 
the name of Manes. Beausohre (torn. i. p. 67.) conjectures, that he was born in 
the city of Carcoub, and thence was called Carcubius, which became changed 
into Cubricus. There is nothing certain on this subject. — He is also called 
]\rANicH.EUS. According to Augustine, (de Ilaeres. c. 46. 0pp. tom. viii. p. 10; 
and, contra Faustum, L. xix. c. 22. tom. viii. p. 231.) it was his disciples who 
gave him this name, in order to avoid a name which in Greek denotes insanity. 
For Manes (/uaK«j) in Greek, denotes a mad or crazy man. And therefore his 
enemies made his very name a reproach to him, and said : it was so ordered, in 
divine providence, that he should receive a name expressive of his insanity. To 
parry this weaj[>on, of so little force, his adherents chose to name their master 
j\Ianich<£iis, 

All that the Greek and Latin writers state concerning him, with only [p. 735.] 
a few exceptions, is contained in the Contest of Archelaus, the bishop of Cas- 
<'.ara,with Manes, first published by Zaccagnius. — These writers, however, deny 
that Manes was the author of the religion which he taught ; and tell us that 
one Scythianus, a contemporary of the Apostles, who died in Judea, invented it, 
and committed it to w^riting in four Books. One of his disciples, named Tere- 
binthus, who subsequently took the name of Buclda, after the death of his pre- 
ceptor, went to Assyria, and lived with a certain widow woman. He died a 
violent death: for, as he was praying on the roof of the house, an evil genius, 
by divine direction, precipitated him to the ground ; which caused his death. The 
widow woman inherited the goods and the books of the unhappy man ; and, 
with the money, she purchased a boy seven years old, whose name was CubH' 
cus ; and as he manifested fine native powers, she caused him to be instructed in 
the literature and arts of the Persians ; and finall}', at her death, five years 
after, she made him heir to all her fortune, including the books left by Tere- 
bintlnis. Cubricus, after the death of his patroness, in order to efface all re- 
membrance of his former servile condition, assumed the name of Manes, and 
devoted himself intensely to the study of the arts and sciences of the Persians, 
but especially to the understanding the books of Terebinthus. He was but 
twelve years old at the time he became his own master. When, from the 
books of Terebinthus, which he had always before him, he understood the whole 
system of Terebinthus, he not only embraced it himself, but also persuaded three 
others to embrace it, whose names were Thomas, Adda, and Hernias. When 
sixty years old, he translated the books of Terebinthus into the Persian lan- 
guage ; adding, however, many silly and fabulous inventions of hio own mind ; 

VOL. II. 18 



258 Century IIL—Secilon 40. 

and therefore affixing his own name to the books, instead of that of the original 
author. After this, he sent out two of his disciples, one of them to Egypt, and 
the other to Seythia. About the same time, a son of the king of Persia became 
dangerously sick : and Manes, who had learned the medical art, went to the king, 
and promised to restore the child to health. But he could not conquer the dis- 
ease ; and the child died. The king therefore ordered the physician to be load- 
ed with chains, and to be cast into prison. While he was a prisoner, Manes 
became acquainted with the Christian religion, of which he had before no know- 
ledge. For his (two) disciples returning from their travels, told their master, 
that none resisted their teaching and exhortations so strenuously as the chris- 
tians. Anxious, therefore, to acquaint himself with this subject, he directed his 
friends to procure for him the books of the christians. Having read them, and 
learning that Christ promised his followers to send them the Paraclete, he pro- 
claimed himself to be that Paraclete ; and he transferred into his own system, 
a portion of the christian religion, in an adulterated state. Then followed a 
new mission of his disciples into different countries, for the express purpose of 
[p. 736.] making proselytes. The king of Persia, on learning this new crime of 
Manes, purposed to kill him. But, by bribing his keepers, he escaped from 
prison, and concealed himself in a certain fortress called Arabian. Soon after, 
leaving this retreat, and taking with him his twelve Apostles or associates, he 
travelled over a part of Persia ; and, among other efforts for the establishment 
of his sect, he held a public religious discussion with Archelaus, the prelate of 
Cascara. At last, the soldiers, whom the king commanded to pursue him, con- 
fined him in the fortress of Arabion : and the king ordered the unhappy man 
to be flayed, his skin to be stuffed and hung up before the city gate, and his 
body to be cast out and be food for the birds, — This story, Beausohre has illus- 
trated in a long, copious, and very erudite Dissertation, introductory to his 
volume. But his chief aim is, to persuade us, that the greatest part of this nar- 
rative is a vile fable. And yet he adduces and inserts many things, which serve 
rather to protract and extend the discussion, than to confirm it; and which 
might be omitted, without any detriment to the cause espoused by the learned 
man. 

We now proceed to the fticts concerning this wonderful man, as stated by 
the Oriental writers, Persian, Syrian, and Arabian ; which facts have been col- 
lected from various authors, by the well-informed Oriental scholars, Barthol. 
Herbelot (Bibliotheque Orientale, voce Mani, p. 548.) Thomas Hyde, (His- 
toria Relig. veter. Persar. c. 21. p. 280.) Euseb. Renaudot, (Historia Patri- 
arch. Alexandrinor. p. 42.) Edw. Pocock, (Specimen Hist. Arabum, p. 149, 
&c.) and a few others. These facts have been arranged in a certain order, 
and amplified with various observations, some more and some less necessary, 
by Ja. Beausohre, (Histoire de Manich. tome i. p. 155, &c.) They differ ma- 
terially from the facts stated by the Greeks : and hence the question arises : 
Which statement is most worthy of credit ? Renaudot (Hist. Patriarch. Alex- 
andr. p. 48.) thinks the Greeks are the best authority : nor will this opinion 
meet strong opposition, from one who reflects, that the Greek authors are much 
more ancient than the Oriental ; and that the latter, almost universally, are not 



Life of Manes. 250 

distinguished for either accuracy, or method, or for their selection of facta, and 
moreover, that tliey delight in fabU's aud marvellous stories. And yet /imu- 
sohre (p. 156.) deems the Oriental writers preferable to the Greeks ; /rs^, be- 
cause the events occurred iu their country ; and secondly, because the facts 
which they state, are more according to nature (plus naiurelle), than those stated 
by the Greeks. But I doubt whether there is so much strength in these two 
reasons, as the learned man supposed. For we know very well, that the Ori- 
entals recount very many occurrences in their country, which are exceedingly 
dubious and uncertain ; as I could show by examples that are beyond all con- 
troversy, if it were necessary, and if this were a proper place. And, to say 
nothing of the superstition and habitual credulity of all the Oriental histo- 
rians, it should be recollected, that it is only the Persians, iind not like- [p. 737.] 
wise the Syrians and Arabians, who in this case can be said to relate occurrences 
in their own country. — Whether the things stated by the Greeks, or those stated 
by the Orientals, are in themselves the most probable, is a difficult question to 
determine ; because the judgments of men, respecting the greater or less degree 
of probability, dilTer wonderfully. But I will not assume the functions of an 
arbiter in this controversy. Yet I think it proper to warn those who would 
assume those functions, that they should, in the very outset, determine which 
narrative of the Orientals is to be preferred to that of the Greeks. For, while 
the Greeks agree with each other very well, except only in some minute points, 
and perhaps all derived their information from one source; the Orientals differ ex- 
ceedingly from each other, or do not ail give the same account of the life, la- 
bors and death of Manes. This disagreement, — to speak plainly, — the learned 
Beausohre dissembles, and gives a history of Manes from the Oriental writers, 
in a manner that would lead the reader to believe, that all those writers ac- 
corded with each other, just as the Greeks do ; and yet his history of Manes, 
which he calls that of the Orientals, and sets in opposition to that of the Greeks, 
is a tissue of various extracts taken from different vvriters. He states, for in- 
stance, that Manes was a presbyter among the Christians, before he formed his 
new religion ; and he makes the statement, just as if all the Oriental writers 
testified to the fact. The thing stated is not incredible : and yet it is most cer- 
tain, that no Oriental says it, except Ahulpharaius only ; who is indeed a re- 
spectable author, but a recent one, and far removed from the age of Manes, for 
he lived in the thirteenth century ; he was, moreover, a Syrian, and not a Per- 
sian ; and lastly, he was not exempt from all mistakes. — But let us hear what 
the Orientals can tell us about Manes. 

In the first place, most of them agree that Manes, or rather Mani, (for that 
was his true name,) was a Magian by birth; and that he excelled in all the 
branches of learning, then held in estimation among the Magi. In particular, 
they tell us that he was very skilful in Music, Mathematics, Astronomy, Medi- 
cine, Geography, and finally in Painting; and the Persian Condemir tells us» 
that he ornamented his Gospel with admirable devices and imagery. All this ia 
quite probable, nay, may be accounted nearly certain ; for he was a man of ex- 
uberant genius, well fitted to*acquire and to practise the arts in which the pow- 
ers of genius and imagination predominate. The Greeks do not, indeed, ex- 



20)0 Century IIL—Section 40. 

prcssly attribute to him .ill these acquisitions ; yet they admit, in the general, 
that he was a very learned man ; and, therefore, they do not in this matter con- 
tradiet the Orientals. I can the most readily believe, what is reported of his 
ornamenting his Erlung, or Gospel, with beautiful imagery. For all the 
Gnostic systems of religion are of such a nature, as to be easily delineated, or 
[p. 738.] represented by drawings and colors in a picture; nay, they can be bet- 
ter understood from paintings, than from language and written books ; and no 
one of them can be more easily delineated by the pencil, than the Maniehaan; 
which consist almost wholly of fables or fictitious histories. And hence the 
Gnostic teachers, (as appears from the example of the Ophites, in Origen against 
Celsus,) were accustomed to put into the hands of the common people such 
pictorial systems of religion ; that is, pictures, in which the principal topics of 
their religion were presented to the eye in diagrams, figures, and images. But 
what we are told of the exquisite skill of Manes in the above-named arts, must 
be understood and estimated, not according to our standard of excellence, but 
according to that of the Persians of that age. Beausohre seems not to have duly 
considered this; for he declares the man to have been, in general, an excellent 
Mathematician, Natural Philosopher, and Geographer. He might appear so to 
the Persians, but he was a small man, if compared wdtli our Mathematicians, 
Philosophers, and Naturalists; nay, he was a rustic, and scarcely imbued with 
the rudiments of Mathematics, Geography, and Physical Science ; and what is 
more, he embraced not a few errors, which even tyros among us can see 
through. 

After embracing the Christian religion, Manes was made a priest, or presby- 
ter, in the city Ehivazi, or in the province Ahvas, as Herbelot renders it. In this 
situation he explained books, and disputed with Jews, loith the Magi, and with 
Pagans. Thus much, and no more, is transmitted by a single writer, Gregory 
Ahulpharaius, (in his Historia Dynastarum, p. 82.) But the learned Beansobre, 
who is studious of honoring Manes all he can, not only relates the matter, as if 
it were supported by the united testimony of all the Oriental writers, but he 
adds to it several things supported by no authority. For he tells us, — I. That 
Manes was learned in the scriptures; (Savant dans la Ecriture.) — II. That he 
was very zealous in supporting the dignity and authority of Christianity. (72 
avoit un grand zele pour la foi.) — III. That these qualifications induced the 
Christians to raise him to a presbytership, zvhile but a youth, and in a city of the 
first rank, (une xille ires considerable.) — IV. That in this station, he exhibited 
great proofs of zeal and virtue. — V, But that, at length, he apostatized from 
Christianity; and, for this instance of bad faith, he was excluded from the com- 
munion of Christians. — I wonder how so great a man, one so acute and dis- 
criminating, one who severely censures and rebukes even the slight errors of 
great men, could boldly utter all this, when it has no authority whatever, but is 
drawm wholly from his own fimcy. Surely ! if another person had dared to do 
such a thing, this great man would have castigated him severely. 

Manes, — it is uncertain on what occasion, or for what cause, went to the 
court of Sapor, the king of Persia, called Shaboi& by the Persians. And he so 
insinuated himself into the king's confidence, that he even drew him over to the 



Life of Manes. 2G1 

religion he liad devised. Einboldoned by tiiis success, he gathered [p. 739.] 
around him a number of discipkvs, and assailed publicly the ancient Persian re- 
ligion, founded by Zoroaster. Sapor, either offended at this, or being prompted 
by the Magi and the priests, determined to put him to death. Manes, beincr in- 
formed of the design, Hed into Turkestan. There he drew many to his party; 
and, among other things, (as Thos. Hyde states from one Rustejn.) painted two 
Persian temples. Afterwards, finding a certain cave in which there was a foun- 
tain, he concealed himself in it during a year; having previously assured his 
disciples, that lie should appear in a certain place after a year, and that in the 
meantime he should nscend to heaven. In that cave he composed his book, 
called by the Orientals Azeng, or Arzenk, i. e. a Gospel; and ornamented it with 
very beautiful pictures. At the end of the year, coming forth from the cave, he 
showed the book to his followers, as one which he received in heaven, and 
brought thence with him. These things are stated by a single Persian historian, 
Condemir; others know nothing of them. They are not incongruous with the 
genius of the man, but whether true or false, who can tell? In the meantime, 
Sapor, the king of Persia, died, and was succeeded by his son Hormisdas. On 
learning this, Manes returned from Turkestan to Persia, and presented to the 
new king his book, which he called divine and heavenly. Hormisdas, or' Hor- 
moiiz, not only received him kindly, but also embraced the religion contained in 
his book, and ordered a tower to be built for liim, called Dascarrah, in which he 
might be safe from the plots of his enemies, who were very numerous. See 
HerheloCs Bibliotheque Orientale, (voce Dascarrah, p. 288. No authority is 
given.) This is the tower, as Beausobre conjectures, which the Greeks call 
Arabian. Those who may think this kindness of the king to Manes singular 
and strange, should consider that Hormisdas, previously, in the lifetime of his 
father, had favored Manes and his opinions. Nor is it supposable that, on 
merely hearing Manes speak, and seeing his book, he embraced his opinions. 
And here a conjecture arises, which, the more I consider it, the more probable 
it appears. I suspect, that what the Greeks tell us of the king's son's being 
consigned to the medical treatment of Manes, and dying in his hands, was an 
Oriental allegory, and was misunderstood by the Greeks. Sapor committed his 
son to the tuition of Manes, to be instructed in the precepts of his wisdom ; 
but Manes seduced the prince from the religion of his ancestors, and initiated 
him in his new religion. This transaction, the Orientals, who delight in meta- 
phors and allegories, wrapped up in similitudes, by comparing the ignorance of 
the prince with a disease, his instruction with the cure of the disease, and his 
defection from the religion of his ancestors with death ; but the Greeks, [p. 740.] 
little accustomed to this species of discourse, supposed the things described to 
be real facts. — This prosperity of Manes was short. Hormisdas died at the end 
of two years; and his son Varanes I. whom the Persians call Behram, or Baha- 
ram,\n the beginning of his reign, indeed, treated Manes with kindness; but 
soon his feelings were changed, and he determined to destroy him. He, there- 
fore, allured Manes from the fortress in which he was concealed, under pretence 
of holding a discussion with the chiefs of the Magi, and then ordered him to be 
put to death, as a corrupter of religion. Some tell us he was cleaved asunder; 



262 Century Ill—Section 40. 

others, that he was crucified ; and others, agreeing with the Greeks, that he wag 
flayed. All, both Greeks and Orientals, agree that he was executed. — This 
short story, Beausobre has not only loaded with a mass of various ob^^ervatioM^, 
learned, indeed, but often having little connexion with the subject, but has also 
sometimes augmented, with conjectures wholly unsupported by any testimony. 
(2.)Manes dilfered essentially from the other heretics. For they all professed to 
teach the religion which was inculcated by Jesus Christ publicly, or among his se- 
lect friends ; and they proved their doctrines by citations from the writings of his 
Apostles. But far otherwise Manes ; as is put beyond doubt, by what he taught 
respecting himself. He acknowledged, that his religious system could not be 
proved, in all its parts, from the books left us by the Apostles : and he pro- 
duced a new book, which, he said, was divinely dictated to him : and lastly, he 
maintained, that Christ set forth only a part of the knowledge of salvation ; and 
left a part to be explained by the Paraclete, whom he promised to his followers. 
And he claimed to be himself that Paraclete, or that herald and expounder of 
divine truth, promised by Christ. How Manes and his disciples wished to have 
these subjects understood, must be explained accurately, and at some length; 
because both the ancients and the moderns are sometimes not uniform in their 
statements, and sometimes disagree with each other, respecting the character as- 
sumed by Manes. Nor has Beausobre brought forward all that is worth consider- 
ing, although he says many things very learnedly, and demonstrates admirably the 
errors committed on this subject. (See his Histoire de Manichee, tome I. p. 252.) 
Eusebius (in his Historia Eccles. L. vii. c. 31, p. 283,) says : Manes exhibited him- 
self as Christ, or took the form of Christ (Xpia-Tdv durdv fxcp^o^ia-d-Ai eirufSTo.) And 
many repeat the same after him. The Orientals are more cautious, if i/er^^e/o/ (Bibl. 
Orient, p. 549.) correctly expounds their meaning; namely, that he declared himself 
another or second Christ or Messiah (iin second Messie.) — All these writers are un- 
doubtedly mistaken. Nor have they any ground for their accusation, except in 
the number of associates whom Manes chose : for he took the same number of 
companions and friends as Christ took for his Apostles. The fallacy of such an 
[p. 741.] argument need not be pointed out. What the preceding writers expressly 
declare, A ug-i/s/i??e only ventured to suspect, (contra Epistolam Manich.c. 8. 0pp. 
tom. viii. p. 112;) Quid ergo aliud suspicer, nescio, nisi quia iste Manichseus, qui 
per Christi nomen ad imperitorum animos aditum quserit, pro Christo ipso se coli 
voluit? But he supports this conjecture by a very weak argument, not worth 
repeating and confuting. — Many others have told us, that Manes chiiraed to be 
the Holy Spirit. All these have a good excuse for making the mistake ; and 
although in error, they do not deserve severe censure. For Manes did call him- 
self the Paraclete; and all his disciples denominated him either simply the Para- 
cleti, or the Hohj Spirit, the Paraclete : nay, as Augustine repeatedly charges 
upon them, (in his work contra Faustum Manich.) they were accustomed to 
swear by this Paraclete. Now, when christians heard them take such oaths, with- 
out anything explanatory, and recollected that, in the scriptures, the Holy Spirit 
is called the Paraclete, and that no sane man swears by any other than God or 
some essence cognate with God;— who can wonder that they supposed the 
founder of this Manichaean sect arrogantly claimed to be the Holy Spirit? And 



L\fe of Manes. 2G3 

those ancient doctors, who either said roundly, tliat Manes claimed to be the 
floly Spirit, or else confessed, (as Angiistim does, in his work contra Epistc - 
lam Manicliaii, c. 17, and contra Faustuni, Lib. xiii. and elsewiiore,) Ihat they 
did not knon\''\hi\t the Manichceans meant by applying this appelhition to their 
master, whether they wished to indicate that Manes was himself the Holv Spirit, 
or only that the Holy Spirit resided in him ? — these writers, I say, in my judg- 
ment, committed no censurable ofl'ence. For, what rule of duty does he violate, 
who uses the very terms of a sect in stating their opinions, or who tells us, he 
does not know what meaning they affixed to their terms? They offend but 
slightly, who explain the appellation which Manes assumed, and either conjec- 
ture or report that the Manicha^ans supposed the Holy Spirit and Manes to be 
combined in one person. And the fault of this misrepresentation is chiefly 
chargeable on Manes and his followers, who, by obscure and ambiguous lan- 
guage, cause their meaning to be misunderstood. I see learned men of our day 
who endeavor to treat the history of christians more wisely than our fathers did, 
and become wonderfully copious, eloquent, and energetic, in exaggerating and 
castigating the errors, by which the ancient christian authors have marred their 
accounts of sects and heresies: but while they show themselves equitable 
towards heretics, — which is commendable, — they not unfrequently become un- 
just to the contenders against them, not reflecting that a great part, perhaps the 
greatest part, of the faults which deform the history of the early sects, originat- 
ed from the obscuritj', the ambiguity, and the foreign and unusual phraseology 
of the heretics themselves. — But let us pass on, and see what Manes [p. 742.] 
would have those think of him, whom he instructed. 

In the first place, it is unquestionable that this Persian did not w^ish to be 
accounted Christ himself, but an Apostle of Jesus Christ, his Lord. For he 
commences that celebrated Epistola Fundamenti. against wiiich Augustine wrote 
a Book, with these words : Manichaeus Apostolus Jesu Chrlsti providentia Dei 
Patris. Haec sunt salubria verba de perenni et vivo fonte. (See Augustine, con- 
tra Epistolam Manich. c. 5. 0pp. torn. viii. p. Ill, and de Actis cum Felice Ma- 
nichaeo, L. L p. 334, 335.) We have also the testimony of Augustine, (contra 
Epist. Manich. c. 6. p. 112, and contra Faustum, L. xiii. c. 4. p. 181.) that Manes 
assumed the same title, in all his Epistles. — But, as we shall soon see, Manes 
did not wish this title to be understood in its common and ordinary sense, when 
applied to himself, but in a sense much higher. For he placed himself far above 
the twelve Apostles of Christ, and proclaimed, that much greater wisdom was 
divinely imparted to him than to them. When, therefore, he styles himself an 
Apostle, he intended thereby that he was an extraordinary man, far superior to 
all the first Apostles, one whom Christ had sent to mankind, partly, to perfect 
his religion, and partly to free it from stains and corruptions. 

In the next place, it is certain that Manes did not wish to be accounted the 
Holy Spirit personally ; or to have his followers believe, that the entire Holy 
Spirit had descended into him, joined his person to him, and spoke and gave 
forth laws personally through him. They who attribute such insanity to Maries 
may be confuted by many proofs, and especially by the Manic-hicaii doctrine 
concerning the Holy Spirit. Passing by all the arguments which have been 



2G4 Ccntimj III— Section 4.0. 

adduced by Beausnhre, we will deinonstrate, solely from the Epistola Fundamenti 
of Manes, tiiat he disting-uislied between the Holy Spirit and himself. For thus 
he speaks in that Epistle, (apud Avgustinum de Actis cum Felice Manich. L. L 
c. 16. p. 341.) Pax Dei invisibilis et veritatis notitia sit cum fratribus suis et 
carissimis, qui mandatis ccelestibus credunt pariter ac deserviunt : sed et dextera 
luminis tueatur et eripiat vos ab omni ineursione maligna et a laqueo mundi : 
pietas vero Spiritus Sancti intima vestri pectoris adaperiat, ut ipsis oculis videa- 
tis animas vestras. Here Manes prays {or, first, the peace of the supreme Deity, 
or the Father, and, secondly, for the aid and assistance of the Son. Because, by 
the dextera luminis, he means Christ, the Son of God. For, according to the 
Manioha?an system, the light is God himself, the source of all light: whence, in 
Oriental phraseology, dextera luminis is ihat,hy which the Z/^'-/;/, i» e. God, assists 
men, and manifests to them his kindness, his love, and his power ; or that per- 
son who is nearest to God, and is the minister of his divine pleasure and govern- 
[p. 743.] ment. Lastly, he prays for the illumination of the Holy Spirit. For 
He it is, who must dispel the mental darkness, so that the brethren might see 
their souls with their own eyes ; that is, that they might understand that in them 
was a soul, the offspring of eternal light, or of God ; and that they might leani 
to distinguish it from the darkness, or from the body and the senses. Who does 
not readily see, on reading this passage, that Manes regarded the Holy Spirit 
as an essence cognate with God, and wholly diiferent from himself? For he 
joins the Holy Spirit with the Son of God, and with the Father ; and supposes 
his internal illumination to be necessary for men, to enable them to discover the 
truth and divine origin of his doctrines. A man could not so speak, who thought 
the Holy Spirit to be latent in himself, or that he was himself the Holy Spirit. 
Although Manes did not wish to be considered as being the Holy Spirit, yet 
he declared himself to be that Paraclete whom the blessed Saviour, a little be- 
fore his death, promised to his disciples. John xiv. 16 and xvi. 7, &c. This is 
apparently inconsistent with the previous statements. For how could a man, 
who dared not arrogate to himself the dignity and majesty of the Holy Spirit, 
and contented himself with the title of an Apostle of Christ, — how could he 
claim to be the Paraclete promised by Christ ? But we shall soon see that these 
pretensions are easily reconcilable. I confess, indeed, that I once doubted whe- 
ther it were true, that all the Greeks and Orientals really stated that Manes 
required men to believe him to be the Paraclete. Because, in the beginning of 
his Epistles, he called himself only an Apostle of Jesus Chi-ist, and not the 
Paraclete I suspected that Manes probably thought more modestly of himself, 
and that the whole story of the mission of the Paraclete in the person of Manes^ 
was, perhaps, got up by his disciples, who were eager to exalt their master, and 
to find evidence of his high dignity in the holy scriptures. For I said to myself, 
if Manes wished to be considered the Paraclete, why did he not assume that title 
in his Epistles? Why did he style himself only an Apostle? Augustine indeed 
(in his Liber contra E])ist. Manichasi, c. 6. p. 112.) would convince us, that the 
astute and crafty man aimed tncitly to insinuate, even by the title Apostle of 
Christ, that lie was the Paraclete: Quid hoc esse causspe arbitramur, (viz. that 
he called himself an Apostle of Christ, and not of the Paraclete.) nisi quia ilia 



Life of Manes. 0(55 

Biiperbia, mater omnium ha3riticoruin,inipulit homincm, ut non missiun se a 
Paracleto vellet videri, sed ita susccptiim, ut ipse Paracletus diceretur. Tliis in- 
deed is not offering proof, but is indulging conjecture. Yet tlie same Aufrus- 
iine, in another manner, removed all doubt from my mind on this subject. For 
he clearly testifies, that Manes did refer the promise of the Paraclete to himself. 
He says, (ubi supra c. 7. p. 112.) Mnnieha'us vester, sivc missum, sive suscep- 
tum a Paracleto se affirmat. And a little after, (c. 8.) still more clearly : Spiritus 
sanctus nominatus non est, qui mnxlnie debuit ab eo nominari, qui nobis Apos- 
tolatum suum Paracleti promissione commendat, ut evangelica auctoritate impe- 
ritos premat. These words merit careful attention. For it appears [p. 744.] 
from them, /rs^, That Manes did not call himself the Holy Spirit : yet, secondhjy 
That he commended his Aposileship, by api)lying to it the promise of the Para- 
clete ; i. e. he would have the language of Christ concerning the Paraclete, to 
refer to him. From these declarations, I think it manifest, that the man distin- 
guished the Holy Spirit from the Paraclete. For one who rejects the title of 
the Holy Spirit, yet calls himself the Paraclete, undoubtedly shows that he con- 
siders the Holy Spirit to be different from the Paraclete. This observation sheds 
great light on the subject ; and it reveals the source of the error on this subject 
of the ancients. By the appellation Paraclete in the language of Christ, Manes 
supposed, was indicated, not the Holy Spirit personally, but a man whom Christ 
would send, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, as he expresses it; to whom the Holy 
Spirit (who?e residence, he supposed, was in the air,) would communicate 
greater wisdom and illumination than to the first Apostles of Christ ; whereby 
this man would be able to fill the blanks left by Christ in the science of salva- 
tion, and expunge the errors introduced by men. Perhaps, he confirmed this 
exposition by the language in John xvi. 15. He shall not speak of himself; hut 
whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak. These words, considered by them- 
selves, seem more applicable to a man taught by the Holy Spirit, than to a 
divine being or person. And previously to him, Monlanus, who also called him- 
self the Paraclete, and was so called by his followers, seems to have explained 
the term Paraclete in the promise of Christ, in the same manner. And it is cer- 
tain that Mohammed, who, as before stated, in many points greatly resembled 
Manes, claimed nearly the same authority : and it is well known, that he wished 
to be accounted the Paraclete. And hence Condemir, the Persian historian, ac- 
cording to Herhelot, (Bibliotheque Orientale p. 549,) understanding the fact, was 
indignant that Manes should apply to himself Christ's language respecting the 
Paraclete, which, in his judgment, related to Mohammed. The disciples of Ma- 
nes, to manifest this opinion of their master concerning the Paraclete, although 
they commonly call him simply the Paraclete, yet often add the words Holy 
-Sp?n7,and call Manes the Holy Spirit the Paraclete. This we learn from Augus- 
tine, in his Disputatio cum Felice Manicha30, and in other places. The reason 
they assign for this double appellation, Augustine, (who is not always a favor- 
able expositor for them,) has stated in his Book contra Epistolam Mnniehrei, 
(c. 8. p. 112.) : Quod quum a vobis quccritur ? (i. e. when you arc asked, Why 
did Manes not call himself the Holy Spirit, but an Apostle of Jesus Ciirist?) 
respondetis, utique Manichao Apostolo nominato, Spiritum sanctum i'araclftum 



2G6 Century III.— Section 40. 

nomin.iri, quia in ipso venire dignatus est. From this language it is manifest, 
first: That the Maniehaeans, in order to define the meaning of the title of Para- 
clete, with which they honored their master, called him also the Holy Spirit the 
Paraclete. And secondly: That they maintained, that this title had the same 
[p. 745.] force and meaning, with the title of Apostle of Jesus Christ, which he 
placed at the head of his Epistles. And hence, thirdly : According to the opi- 
nion of Manes and his disciples, the Paraclete is a man sent by Christ, in whom 
pre-eminently the Holy Spirit manifests his power and wisdom ; or, in their own 
phraseology, in whom the Holy Spirit (venit) comes to men. — The Manicha3an 
presbyter Felix, in his Discussion with Augustine, seems to modify or change 
this idea. For, although he calls his master the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, yet he 
gives the same appellation to the Holy Spirit itself; and he affirms, (p. 338.) 
that the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, among other things, came also in St. Paul. 
But this man, wiiom Augustine (Retractat. L. II. c. 8.) pronounces ineruditurn 
liberalibus lilLeris, — was timid ; and he acknowledges, that partly from fear of Au- 
gustine, whose authority he well knew, and partly from the terror of the impe- 
rial law3 against the Manicheeans, he did not bring out the whole system of his 
sect, but at times concealed some things, which would be particularly offensive to 
christians ; and sometimes explained certain points differently from the common 
explanation of Maniehaeans, to make them appear less offensive. Thus he address- 
es his adversary, Augustine, (L. I. c. 12. p. 339.) : Non tantum ego possum con- 
tra tuam virtutem, quia mira virtus est gradus episcopalis : (This language 
strikingly shows what power the christian bishops of that age possessed :) 
deinde contra leges Imperatorum, et superius petivi compendive, ut doceas me, 
quid sit Veritas. This uneducated man expresses himself rudely, and violates 
the rules of grammar; but his meaning is sufficiently clear. When Augustine 
asked him to explain a passage in a certain book, which he called Thesaurus 
Manetis, he replied, (L. II. c. 19. p. 343.) : Hanc tibi ego non possum interpre- 
tari scripturam et exponere quod ibi non est : ipsa sibi interpres est : ego non pos- 
sum dicere, ne forte incurram in peccatum. This fear mars the whole discussion 
of Felix, and frequently leads him to modify the Manicha3an opinions to meet 
the views of his adversaries. And therefore he can [not] always be regarded 
as an unbiased and safe witness. — The christian doctors, by the Paraclete men- 
tioned by Christ in the Gospel of John, understood the Holy Spirit the third 
Person of the Deity ; and indeed correctly: but they did not perceive that Ma- 
nes gave another meaning to the term, and distinguished the Paraclete, — i. e. a 
man whom the Holy Spirit uses as his instrument, — from the Holy Spirit him- 
self, who taught by that man. And hence, when they learned that Manes called 
himself the Paraclete, and was so called by his disciples, they easily fell into 
the error of supposing that Manes assumed to be personally the Holy Spirit, 
or would be thought to be a man whom the Holy Spirit had anointed with him- 
self Says Eusebius, (Hist. Eccl. L. vii. c. 31.) Tore (uiv tdv TrapaKXurov, x-at 
duTo TO TVivfA'j, ayicfy duToi islvtov dvaKHfivTrav. Paracletum SO, ipsumque Spi- 
ritum sanctum esse praedicabat. 

The ojfice of the Paraclete whom Christ promised, and consequently his own 
[p. 746.] office, according to his scheme, consisted principally in two things ; 



Ufe of Manes. 2G7 

firsts in restoring the religion of (^inist to its original pnrity, or pnrging it from the 
corruptions brought into it by the base frauds or the ignorance of men ; and 
secondly^ in completing and perfecting the same religion, which, he maintained, 
Christ had left imperfect, or incomplete in its parts. For, as it was the desin-ii 
of Manes to combine the christian religion with the ancient Magian or Persian 
religion, which he imbibed in his youth, and many doctrines of Christianity were 
obstacles to his purpose, it became absolutely necessary, that he should, like 
Mohammed^ consider the sacred books of the christians as corrupted, and should 
hold that not a few additions had been made to the christian system, which 
were foreign from the mind of Christ. Let us hear the language of Faustus, 
a man of note, and of no contemptible genius, among the followers of Manes : 
(in Augustine, contra Faustum Lib. xxxii. c. L 319.) : Quid peregrinum hoc, 
aut quid mirum est, si ego de Testamento novo purissima quoeque legens et 
mea3 saluti convenientla, praetermitto qua3 a vestris majoribus inducla fallaciter 
et majestatem ipsius et gratiam decolorant ? A little after, the same eloquent 
and talented man thus addresses catholic christians : Soliusne Filii Testamen- 
tum putatis non potuisse corrumpi, solum non habere aliquid, quod in se debeat 
improbari ? prsesertim quod nee ab ipso (Christo) scriptum constat, nee ab ejus 
Apostolis, sed longo post tempore, a quibusdara incerti nominis viris, qui ne sibi 
non haberetur fides, scribentibus qua3 nescirent, partini Apostolorum nomina, 
partim eorum, qui Apostolos secuti viderentur, scriptorum suorura frontibus 

indiderunt, asseverantes secundum eos se scripsisse, qua3 scripserint. Quae 

quia nos legentes, animadvertimus cordis obtutu sanissimo, a3quissimum judi- 
cavimus utilibus acceptis ex iisdem, id est, iis, quae et finem nostram c-cdificent, 
et Christi Domini atque ejus Patris omnipotentis Dei propagent gloriam, cetera 
repudiare, quae nee ipsorum majestati, nee fidei nostras conveniant. These words, 
which certainly are lucid, teach us, among other things, that Manes denied those 
Gospels, which the Christians approvad and accounted divine, to be the works of the 
Apostles; because they bore the superscrij)tions : (k*tu MctTS-a/ov, katu Mapicov,) 
According to Mattheiv — Mark — Luke — John. For he inferred from these super- 
scriptions, that by them the writers meant to signify, that they wrote what was 
taught respectively by these Apostles. These blemishes, tiierefore, adhering 
to true Christianity, according to Manes, the Paraclete, i. e. Manes himself, was 
commissioned by Christ to remove, and thus to separate the true from the false. 
Let us again hear Fausius, audaciously drawing a parallel between Jesus Christ 
and his master; (ubi supra, c. 6. p. 321.) : Si Jesus docet, pauca veteris Testa- 
menti accipienda esse, repudianda vero quamplurima: Et nobis Paraclitus ex 
novo Testamento promissus perinde docet, quid ex eodem accipere debeamus, 
et quid repudiare : de quo ultro Jesus, cum eum promitteret, dicit in Evangelio ; 
Ipse vos inducet in omnem veritatem, et ipse vobis annunciabit omnia et [p. 747.] 
commemorabit vos. Quapropter liceat tantundem et nobis in Testamento novo 
per Paraclitum (i. e. Manes) quantum vobis in vetere licere ostenditis per Jesum. 
More of the like character is there added by Fauslns, which we omit for the 
sake of brevity, — As to the other function of the Paraclete, there is abundant 
evidence. Let us consider this function. Manes wished to connect with Chris- 
tianity the fictions of the ancient Persians, respecting two (ir.st principles of all 



268 Century IIL—Sectlon 40. 

things, the origin of the world and of evil, the souls of men, «Sic. and to palm 
them on UKUikind as divine truths. And this design required him to te.aeh, that 
Christ communicated to liis Apostles only a fart of the truth, necessary to the 
happiness of men in this and the future life, and left the other part to be taught 
and explained by the Paraclete. We will adduce but a single witness, yet an 
unexceptionable one, namely, FelLv, who was one of the number of the Elect, 
as the Manichaeans called them, i. e. one of those fully instructed in all the 
mysteries of the sect. Though he does not express himself very elegantly, 
yet he explains very well the views of his party. (Disput. cum Augustino, L. 
i. c. 9. in Aiigustifii 0pp. tom. viii. p. 338.) : Paulus in altera Epistola (ss. 1 Cor. 
xiii. 9, 10.) dicit : Ex parte scimus, et ex parte prophetamus : cum venerit autem, 
quod perfcctum est, aholehuntur ea, qucc ex parte dicta sunt. Nos audientes Pau- 
lum hoc dicere, venit Manicha^us cum prajdicatione sua, et suscepimus eum se- 
cundum quod Christus dixit : Mitto vobis Spiritum sanctum : et Paulus venit 
et dixit, quia et ipse venturus est et postea nemo venit : ideo suscepimus Mani- 
cha3um. Et quia venit Manichajus, et per suam prsedicationem docuit nos in- 
itium, mediuni", et finem : docuit nos de fabrica mundi, quare facta est, et unde 
facta est, et qui fecerunt : docuit nos quare dies et quare nox : docuit nos de 
cursu solis et luna3 : quia hoc in Paulo non audivimus, nee in ceterorum Apos- 
tolorum scripturis ; hoc credimus, quia ipse est Paraclitus. Itaque illud iteruni 
dico, quod superius dixi ; Si audiero in altera Scriptura, ubi Paraclitus loquitur, 
de quo voluero interrogare, et docueris me, credo et renunico, (ss. Manicheeo.) 
We must now speak of the arguments, by which Manes, while he lived and 
when dead, induced so many persons to believe him to be the Paraclete, sent 
by Christ to reform and to perfect the christian religion. These arguments are 
manifest, from the passages just cited from Felix. Like his imitator Moham- 
med, Mimv.s made no pretensions tomirncles: nor did those who listened to 
him, demand signs of him. He simply bid men believe, that he was a messen- 
ger from God : and the doubting and such as asked for evidence, he pressed 
with this single argument ; that Jesus Christ had promised the Paraclete, to 
perfect what he had begun, and to acquaint men with what was lacking in his 
[p. 748.] system. Since Christ left the world, until I came, no one adequate 
for this office has appeared ; no one before me, has explained what Christ left 
unexplained — the origin of the world, the cause of all evils, &c. ; but I have ex- 
plained all these hitherto unknown things. Therefore, I am the Paraclete, 
whom Christ directed his followers to expect. And by this single argument 
tho Manichffians defended themselves, when called on by the christian doctors 
to prove, that Manes was the chief Apostle of Christ, or the Paraclete. It ap- 
pears, from the writings of Augustine against the Manichaeans, and from other 
documents, that the christian disputants demonstrated, that the Paraclete whom 
Christ promised, in fact carne, when tlie Holy Spirit descended upon the Apos- 
tles : Acts ii. The Manicha3ans denied that fact, on the ground that none of 
the Apostles had taught all the truths that are profitable and needful to men. 
Felix says, (in Augustini Disput. cum Felice, L. i. c. 6. p. 337.) : Cum proba- 
tum mihi fuerit, quod Spiritus sanctus {in Apostolos eff'usus) docuerit veritatem, 
quam qua^ro, illam {Manetis discipUnam) respuo. Hoe enim sanctitas tua mihi 



Life of Manes. 209 

leg-it, ubi Spiritum sanctum Apostoli acceperunt : et in ipsis Apostoli.s uiium 
quaero, qui nic doceat de initio, de medio ct de fine : (i. c. tlie whole of ivli<rion 
or the whole science of salvation.) And he repeats llu; snnie things a little 
after, thus ; Quia sanctitas tua hoe dieit, quod Apostoli ipsi aeeeperunt Spiri- 
tum sanctum Paracletum : iterum dico, de Apostolis ipsis quem volueris, decent 
me quod me ManicliKUs docuit, aut ipsius doctrinam evacuet de duodecim 
quem volueris. All the pretensions of Manes, therefore, rested on this argu- 
ment : He who explains the deficient topics in Christ's religion, is the Paraclete 
whom Christ promised : but Manes docs this : therefore he is the Paraclete and 
Apostle of Christ. Nothing can be more fallacious, nothing more imbecile, 
than this argumentation ; and yet many persons, and some of them neither 
simpletons nor unlearned, were persuaded by Manes and his disciples; and 
this single example shows, in what darkness the human mind is involved, and 
how easily popular schemes of religion, accommodated to vulgar apprehension, 
may entrap men. 

(3) In the first place, Manes rejected the entire Old Testament ; as did 
nearly all the Gnostic parties, who deformed the Christian religion by the pre- 
cepts of the Oriental philosophy. The arguments \vith which the Manichaijins 
assailed the Old Testament, are exhibited in a long array, by Faustus, the i\Ia. 
nichffian, in AugiLstines work against him ; and still more fully and learnedly* 
by Beausohre^ (in his Histoire de Manichee, vol. i, p. 269, &c.) The chief argu- 
ment is this : The things, which the books of the O. Test, state concerning God, 
do not accord with the good Principle of the Manichteans, which they denomi- 
nate God. — In the next place, they rejected the whole New Testament, as it is 
read by Christians. They did not indeed deny, that in most of the books of 
the N, Test., there are some things that are divine and came from Christ [p. 749.] 
and his Apostles: but among these things, they contended, are interwoven very 
many false things, and things wholly impious. Hence they inferred, that those 
things only in the N. Test, are intitledto belief, which are in accordance with the 
decisions oi Manes their master, the reformer of Christianity whom Christ has sent : 
every thing else is to be rejected. — But these ideas need a more full explana- 
tion, so that it may appear, in what sense we must understand the affirmation 
of Beausobre, (vol. i. p. 291.) that the Manichasans received our four Gospels 
and the Epistles of Paul. For here, too, this great man was influenced some- 
what by his excessively kind feelings towards the Manicha3ans and towards all 
heretics. 

First : As to our four Gospels, there were two opinions among the Mani- 
chaeans, closely allied to each other, and practically, or in their efiects, alto- 
gether alike. Sometimes they seem to admit, or rather do admit, these Gos- 
pels to be of divine origin ; but they soon take back what they granted, and 
contradict it. For they add, that these Gospels are wretchedly corrupted, and 
interpolated, and enlarged and amplified with Jewish fables, by crafty and men- 
dacious persons. Whence it would follow, that as they now are, they are of no 
use or value, and should be kept out of the hands of the pious, lest they should 
be imbued with noxious errors. At other times they deny, nio.st explicitly, that 
the Apostles of Christ were their authors, or that they were written by those 



270 Centimj III.— Section 40. 

Apostles whose names they bear. On the contrary, they contend that the au- 
thors of them were half-Jews, and credulous and mendacious persons. This I 
have already shown, from a passage of FausLus ; and it may be shown by many 
other passages. I will adduce only one of them, embracing the substance of 
all, taken from Augustine's work against Faustus, (L. xxxiii. c. 3. p. 329.) : 
Sccpe jam probatum a nobis est, nee ab ipso (Christo) haec (Evangelia) sunt, 
nee ab ejus Apostolis scripta : sed multo post eorum assumptionem a nescia 
quibus et ipsis inter se non concorduntibus semi-Judseis per fiunas, opinionesque 
comperta sunt : qui tamen omnia eadem in Apostolorum Domini conferentes 
nomina, vel eorum, qui secuti Apostolos viderentur, errores iic mendacia sua 
secundum eos se scripsisse mentiti sunt. Between these two opinions respecting 
the Gospels, the Manichceans fluctuated : and even Faustus is not uniform in 
his statements, but seems to incline, now to one opinion, and now to the other, 
as occasion offers. It was undoubtedly their real opinion, that the Gospels 
were fabricated by fallible men, and men unacquainted with true religion. But 
as this opinion was odious, they sometimes dissembled, and pretended not to 
repudiate those Gospels, which, in reality, they wholly despised. And with 
such conduct, several of the ancients reproach them. But both opinions lead 
to the same consequences ; and both show, that the Manichsean sect was very far 
from receiving our Gospels. For how could those who thought so injuriously 
of the Gospels, or of their authors, recommend them, or even place them among 
[p. 750.] — I will not say, inspired books, but among the useful and profitable 
books ? In particular, they considered the greatest part of the history of Jesus 
Christ, as contained in our four Gospels, to be false, imaginary, and wholly un- 
worthy of the majesty of the Son of God. Let us again hear Faustus, lucidly 
explaining the views of his sect, in the work of Augustine against him : (L. 
xxxii. c. 7. p. 322.) : De Testament© novo sola accepimus ea, quae in honorem 
et laudem Filii majestatis vel ab ipso dicta comperimus, vel ab ejus Apostolis, 
sed jam perfectis ac fidelibus, dissimulavimus cetera, quae aut simpliciter tunc 
et ignoranter a rudibus dicta, aut oblique et maligne ab inimicis objecta, aut 
imprudenter a scriptoribus aflirmata sunt, et posteris tradita : dico autem (mark 
these declarations,) hoc ipsum natum ex foemina turpiter, circumcisum Judaice, 
sacrificasse gentiliter, baptizatum humiliter, circumductum a diabolo per deserta, 
et ab eo tentatum quam miserrime. His igitur exceptis, et si quid ei ab scrip- 
toribus ex Testament© vetere falsa sub testificatione injectum est, credimua 
cetera, praecipue crucis ejus mysticam fixionem, (from this language it appears, 
that the portion of Christ's history which they did receive, they did not under- 
stand literally, but mystically and allegorically,) qua nostras animae passionis 
monstrantur vulnera, tum praecepta salutaria ejus, turn parabolas cunctumque 
sermonem deificum, qui maxime duarum praeferens naturarum discretionem (we 
shall misunderstand Faustus, if we suppose he here refers to the two natures 
in Christ, and the difference between them : the Manichaeans assigned to Christ 
only one nature, viz. the divine : the human nature they wholly subtracted. 
The two natures, of which Faustus here speaks, are the two Principles of the 
Manichaeans, light and darkness, the more subtile and the grosser kinds of mat- 
ter,) ipsius esse non venit in dubium. Hence also they rejected the two Gene- 



Ufe of Manes. 271 

alogies of Christ, in Matthew and Luke: of which Faustus has much to aay, 
(L. ii. c. 1. p. 133 &,c.) — The Discourses of Jesus Christ recorded in our four 
Gospels, Fauatiis seems to approve : but beware, of supposing lie really did so. 
Manes acknowledged, indeed, tiiat in these discourses of Christ some tliiiiirs aro 
true, divine, and useful ; but he also contended, that in them the good is mixed 
up with the bad. the true with the false, and that prudence and judgment aro 
necessary to discriminate them. This again, Faustus will tell us : (L. xxxiii. 
c. 3. p. 329.) : Nee immerito nos ad hujusmodi scripturas (he speaks of the N. 
Testament) tarn inconsonantes et varias nunquam sane sine judicio et rationo 
aures airerimus ; sed contemplantes omnia et cum aliis alia conferentes, perpen- 
dimus utrum eorum quidque a Christo dici potuerit, nocne. Multa enim a ma- 
joribus vestris eloquiis Domini nostri inserta verba sunt, qute nomine signata 
ipsius cum ejus fide non congruant. To distinguish tlie true and the good from 
what they considered the false and fictitious in the Gospels, and in the [p. 751.] 
New Test, generally, the Manichaeans adopted this universal rule : Whatever 
in the New Test, accords with the doctrine of our master, is to be accounted 
true ; and whatever disagrees with it, (and there is very much that does so,) 
must be reckoned among the fictions and fiilsehoods of the writers. Faustus 
states this rule in the following terms, (L. xxxii. c. 6. p. 321.) ; Paraditus ex 
novo Testamento promissus docet, quid accipere ex eodem debeamus, et quid 
repudiare. — These things being so, I can never persuade myself, that Manes 
placed a high value on our Gospels, or recommended their perusal to his fol- 
lowers. And yet the learned Beausohre would so persuade us : (vol. i. p. 291. 
Nos heretiques recevoient premierement les quatre Evangiles.) And this, he 
thinks, is manifest from the answer of Faustus to the question : Accipis Exan- 
gelium ? The reply, as stated by Augustine, (contra Faustum L. ii. c. 1. p. 133.) 
is: Maxime. For i^eawsoire supposes the word E v angel ium in this reply of 
Faustus, agreeably to its use in the Greek and Latin writers, means the four 
histories of Christ, which we call the Gospels : (Par I'Evangile on entend Ic 
Volume, qui contenoit les quatre Evangiles. C'est le style des Grecs et des 
Latins.) But the great man is certainly mistaken. I admit, that the adversary 
who asked the question, so understood the term : but Faustus, in his reply, 
affixed a very different meaning to it. Nor does he disguise the fact, but freely 
acknowledges it a little after, by saying : Scias me, ut dixi, accipere Evan- 
gelium, id est, p-ccdicationem Christi : (of course, not the history.) In the same 
manner he explains the term in other passages. In L. v. (c. i. p. 139.) his ad- 
versary again asks : Accipis Evangelium 7 And Faustus, among other things 
which I omit, answers : Nescis, quid sit, quod Evangelium nuncupatur. Est 
enim nihil aliud, quam prccdicatio et mandatum Christi. This Gospel, he says, 
he receives. The Manichseans, therefore, did not understand by the Gospel 
our volume of Gospels, but the religion taught by Christ : and as they believed 
this religion to be divinely communicated only to their master, it is evident, 
that they considered the Gospel to be nothing different from the religious f=ys- 
tera of Manes. And hence Titus of Bostra, (L. iii. contra Manicha^os, in II. 
Canisii Lectt. Antiquis, tom. i. p. 139, edit. Basnagii,) very justly charges upon 
the Manichaeans : Quod honorem tantum Evangeliorum simulent, ut esset si- 



272 Century III— Section 40. 

mulatio invitnmcntuni corum, quos deciperent, quod lectionem Evangeliorutn 
praetermittiiut : "'£.vdiyyt\ia avayvuo-n 7ru[>A7ref^7rovm, qiiod in locum Evangelii 
aliud eo nouiinc indignum substituant, &c. Beausobre censures this language 
of Titus ; and maintains, that the Mamch(cans did read the Gospels. And this, 
he thinks, appears from their books still extant : (vol. i. p. 303. par le pen qui 
nous reste de leurs ouvrages.) And it certainly is clear, from these books, that 
[p. 752.] the Manicluuan doctors did, privately, read and examine our Gospels, 
iust as we read the religious books of the sects which go out from us : neither 
did Tilus deny this, nor could he do so. But he did deny, that the Mani- 
cheeans publicly read or expounded the Gospels in their assemblies, or that they 
read them religiously at home, for the sake of gaining instruction or support 
and consolation to their minds: and neither of these charges can be refuted by 
their books now extant. The Manichaean doctors would have been crazy and 
have contravened their own precepts, if they had either publicly read, or had 
directed their people to read those Gospels, the authors of which (as we have 
seen) they pronounced to be half-Jews, mendacious, rash and false assumers of 
Apostolic names, contradictory to one another, and destitute of divine illumina- 
tion. But Beausobre promises to prove, from the language that Augustine puts 
into the mouth of Faiistus, (par cette reponse que S. Augustin met dans la 
bouche de Fauste,) that our Gospels were read by the Manichaeans. But here 
this great man is somewhat in error. For Augustine does not repeat the words 
of Faustus, nor does he affirm that Faustus thought that which he attributes to 
him, but he only conjectures what he might say. His language is, (Lib. xiii. 
c. 18. p. 188.): Hie forte (he therefore states, not what Faustus or the Mani- 
chaeans did say, but what they might perhaps say) dicetis, sed Evangelium de- 
bet legere jam fidelis, ne obliviscatur quod credidit. I repeat, what I before 
said : The Manichaeans would have conflicted with themselves, and would have 
displayed consummate folly, if they had put into the hands of their people, 
books which they judged to be full of lies, and the productions of insane men. 
I proceed to the Acts of the Apostles ; to which the Manichfeans were more 
hostile than to the Gospels. For while they could endure the Gospels, because 
they contained some things true and useful, they totally rejected the book of 
Acts. Thus Angustine testifies, (de Utilitate Credendi, c. 3. 0pp. tom. viii. p. 36.) : 
Si dicerent, Scripturas sive penitus abjiciendas putasse, tergiversatio eorum rec- 
tior, vel error humanior. Hoc enim de illo libro fecerunt, qui Actus Apostolo- 
rum inscribitur. Augustine wonders at this: Quod eorum consilium, cum 
meenm ipse pertracto, nequeo satis mirari. - - Tanta enim liber iste habet, quae 
similia sint his, qua? accipiunt, ut magna; stultitiai mihi videatur, non et hunc 
accipere, et si quid ibi eos offendit, falsum atque immissum dicere. And he sus- 
pects, that their utter aversion to the book of Acts, arose from the declaration 
there of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles; they believing that the 
Holy Spirit came to mankind only in the person of their master. And he re- 
peats the same conjecture, in his book against AdimantuSy a Manichaean, 
(c. 17. p. 100.): Acta isti non accipiunt, quoniam manifeste continent Paracletl 
adventum. But they doubtless had other reasons also for wholly rejecting this 
book; which, however, it is not necessary here to investigate. 



Life of Manes. 073 

Of the Epistles of Paul, they thought more favorably thin of the other books 
of tlie New Testament. When Faustus was asked by his adversary, [p. 753.1 
(apud Augusiinum contra Faustura, L. xi. c. 1. p. 155.). Accipis Apos/olinnf 
lie replied: Maxi}ne. And there are other passages \\'hioh sliow, that they did 
not question the fact, tliat Paul wrote tliose Epistles which we now read. But 
if any one pressed them with a passage from those Epistles, they instantly re- 
plied, that these sacred Epistles had been corrupted by nefarious men. What 
shall I do to you, says Augustine, (contra Faust. L. xxxiii. c. 6. p. 330.) : quos 
contra testimonia Scripturarum ita obsurdefecit iniquitas, ut quidquid adversura 
vos inde prolatiun fnerit, non esse dictum ab Apostolo, sed a nescio quo, falsario 
sub ejus nomine scriptum esse dieere audeatis? That A-ugustinehQVit does them 
no injustice, is manifest from the reasoning of Faustus ; who, when reduced to 
straits by citations from Paul, boldly replies, (L. xi. c. 1. p. 156.): Si fas non 
est, Paulum inemendatum dixisse aliquid unquam, ipsius non est. He had a little 
before said: Aliquid in Apostolo esse cauponatum. In another place, (L. xviii. 
c. 3. p. 221.) he says: Me quidem Manichasa fides reddidit tutum, qua3 mihi non 
'cunctis, quae ex Salvatoris nomine scripta leguntur, passim credere per.suasit, 
sed probare, si sint eadem vera, si sana, si incorrupta: (i. e. accordant with the 
opinions of Manes ;) esse enini permulta Zizania, qua3 in contagium boni semi- 
nis Scripturis pene omnibus noctivagus quidam seminator insperserit. — The 
opinions of the Manichajans, respecting the other books of the New Testament, 
are uncertain. 

In place of our scriptures, the Manichaeans substituted the books of their 
master, declaring them to be divinely inspired. Beausobre, having very fully 
and very learnedly discussed this subject, I will refer such as are eager for a 
knowledge of it to his work, vol. i. p. 305 &c. He might have despatched the 
whole subject in a few words; for very little has come down to us upon it. 
But the learned man very often digresses from the subject, and introduces topics 
altogether foreign, and dwells upon them longer than was necessary. He also 
advances many things concerning the sacred books of the Manichaeans, which I 
would not venture to say, and which rest merely upon conjecture. Manes 
wrote many books, of which a list is given by Jo. Alb. Fabricius, (Biblioth. 
Grseca, vol. v. p. 281 &c.) and by Wm. Cave, (Historia Literar. Scriptor. Eccl. 
torn. i. p. 139.) : but both lists are imperfect; nor is that compiled by Deausobre 
without faults. That the Manichseans set a higher value on the writings of their 
master, than upon any other books named by them, no one can doubt, if he re- 
flects that they considered him as the Paraclete promised by Christ. No one 
of the books of Manes was held by them in higher estimation than his Epislola 
Fundamenti, which Augustine has confuted in a single book ; for this Epistle 
contained a sort of epitome of the whole doctrine of Manes. And hence Felix 
the Manichoean, when about to dispute with Augustine, requested this only of 
all the books taken from him by the order of government, to be re- [p. 754.] 
stored to him, (August, contra Felicem, L. i. c. 1. p. 345.) : Ista enim Epistohi 
Fundnmenti est, quod et sanctitas tua bene scit, quod et ego dixi, quia ipsa con- 
tinet initiura, medium et finem, (i. e. the whole system of religion). Ipsa lega- 
tur. And (August, contra Epist. Fundamenti, c. 5. p. 111.): Potissimum ilium 
VOL. u. 19 V 



274 Century IIL—Sedion 40. 

consideremus librum, quem Fundamenti Epistolam dicitis, ubi totum pene, quod 
creditis, continetur. And hence, it was read to the people, in their asscmbliea, 
by the Maniciu\;ans : Ipsa cnim nobis illo tempore miseris quando lecta est, 
illuminati dicebamur a vobis. 

(4) The festal day, on which the Manichreans annually celebrated the me- 
morial of their master's execution, was called Bema ; from the tribunal^ or ele- 
vated seat, which on that day was erected in their temples or places of worship. 
Says Augustine, (contra Epist. Fundam. c. 8. pp. 112, 113.) : Vestrum Bema/\di 
est, diem, quo iManicha^us occisus est, quinque gradibus instructo tribunali et 
pretiosis linteis adornato, ac in promptu posito et objecto adorantibus prosequi- 
mini. And in his work against Faustus, (L, xviii. c. 5. p. 222.) he testifies^ 
that this day was celebrated, with great festivity, in the month of March. 
The tribunal or pulpit, (iS»a**) a magnificent cliair, hung with cosily drapery, 
undoubtedly denoted that Manes was an inspired teacher, and greater 
and more excellent than all the other teachers sent of God to man; or, a man 
exalted above all other mortals. Bii/u*, among the Greeks, properly signifies a 
step: but it is also used of the elevated places, from which military commanders 
addressed their soldiers, teachers their disciples, and judges pronounced their 
decisions; for to all these the ascent was by steps. Augustine translates it iri^ 
hunal: perhaps it might better be rendered a chair, a pulpit. Yet the term tri- 
bunal is admissable, because the Manichajans considered their master as not 
only a teacher, but also as a. judge in matters of religion. Jac. ToUius, (Insign. 
Itinerarii Itaiici, p. 142.) translates it an altar. But he gives no reasons for this 
interpretation; which is manifestly opposed by Augustine, a very competent 
witness, who had been often present at this ceremony. Beausobre castigates 
Tollius; (vol. ii. p. 713.) — Why, the ascent to this tribunal or throne, represent- 
ing the presence of their master, was by Jive steps, seems not very evident. But 
I conjecture, that the five steps correspond with the Jive elements of the Mani- 
chseana. For they distributed both the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom 
of light into five elements ; and our world, they supposed, consisted of five com- 
pound elements, derived from both kingdoms. And, if I judge correctly, the 
Manicha^ans, by the five steps to the tribunal or pulpit of their master, intended 
to represent, that he alone fully understood the true nature of both kingdoms* 
[p. 755.] those of light and darkness, and of this our world ; and had explained 
it all to mankind. — Augustine, moreover, speaks of the tribunali in 'promptu 
•posito; i. e. so placed, that all present could see it, and have their eyes upon 
it; et objecto adorantibus. What does adorantibus here denote? Beausobre 
(ubi sup. p. 713.) thinks it equivalent to precantibus: And, of course, he sup- 
poses, that the Manichaians prayed to God, with their faces towards this tribu- 
nal. I would readily concede, that in the proper sense of the word, the Mani- 
chseans adored neither their master nor his pulpit. But as for the import of the 
word in this place, I dissent from him. Among the Latins, adorare was to show 
reverence, by bodily attitudes and motions, either to gods or to men; nor do I 
see any reason for believing, that Augustine used the word otherwise here. I 
therefore do not doubt, that he means to say, either that the Manichaeans pros- 
trated themselves, in the Oriental manner, before this throne ; or, that by somo 



Manichwan Dualism. 275 

other bodily act, they manifested their very great reverence for tlioir master. 
The ceremony was similar to that of the Chinese; who salute, very respect fully, 
a tablet bearing the name of Confucius ; in order to manifest publielv, tliat to 
that phik^sopher they are indebted for all their wisdom. This was not a religious 
adoration^ but a manifestation of their feelings of gratitude and respect. 

§ XLI. Two Eternal Worlds, under Two Eternal Lords. Manes 
affirmed two first principles of all things; namely, a subtile and a 
gross sort of matter, or light and darkness^ separated from each 
other b}^ a narrow space. And over each of these he placed an 
eternal King or Lord ; the Lord over light, he called God; the 
Lord over darkness, he called Ilyle^ or Demon.i^) The loorld of light 
and the world of darkness^ although different in their natures, have 
some things in common. For each is distributed into five op- 
posing elements, and the same number of provinces: and both 
are equally eternal, and both, with thefr respective Lords, self- 
existent ; both are unchangeable, and both to exist for ever ; both 
are of vast extent, yet the world of light seems to fill more space 
than the empire of darkness.^) The condition of the two Lords, 
presiding over the two kinds of matter, is equal ; but they are 
totally unlike in their natures and dispositions. The Lord of light, 
being himself happy, is beneficient, a lover of peace and quiet- 
ness, just and wise; the Lord of darkness, being himself very 
miserable, wishes to see others unhappy, is quarrelsome, unwise, 
unjust, irascible, and envious. Yet they are equal in the eternity 
of their existence, in their power to beget beings like themselves, 
in their unchangeableness, and in their power and knowledge; 
and yet the King of light, or God, excells the Prince of [p. 756.] 
darkness, or the Demon, in power and knowledge.(^) 

(]) In substantiating the doctrines and opinions of the Manichaeans, I have 
determined to employ the very language of Manes and his disciples, as far as 
possible; and to cite the testimony of those only, who were well acquainted 
with the Manichaean system, and who had actually consulted the books of the 
sect, disregarding the writers of less authority and less accuracy; so that my 
statements may have unexceptionable credibility. In collecting the testimonies, 
I gratefully acknowledge myself indebted to the industry of Beausobre, that 
prince of the liistorians of Manichaeism. But this resource has failed me, in 
many cases ; a fact which I mention, with no disrespect for that extraordinary 
man, who was my friend. For he not only omitted many things necessary to be 
known, and of use for a right understanding of the Manichaean religion ; but also, 
being too favorably inclined both to Manes, whom he deemed no mean philoso- 



276 Century III.— Section 41. 

phcr. and to his followers, he taxes his genius and eloquence, to extenuate the 
baseness of the religion they professed. I shall sometimes mention, when the 
occasion shall seem to require it, that the best attested truth compels me to dif- 
fcf from this very learned man : yet often, to avoid wearying the reader, I shall si- 
lently deviate from him. Whoever shall take the trouble to compare his protract- 
ed and very copious work, with my slender and dry production, will see, I hope, 
a great difference between them; and will perceive, that I have examined with 
my own eyes, and not with those of another, this gloomy and obscure fable. 
In the tirst place, it is beyond all controversy, that Manes affirmed the exis- 
tence of tioo first principles of all things, and likewise of t7i-o Lords of the 
universe : in doing which, he followed the opinions of the ancient Persians and 
other Oriental nations. The Manich83ans, when they would speak with preci- 
sion and accuracy, applied the term Jirst principle (principimn) only to the 
Rulers or Lords over the two kinds of matter, the good and the evil, or light 
and darkness. Fausius, the most learned and eloquent of the Manichoeans, says, 
(apud Augusiinum, L. xx. c. 1. 0pp. tom. viii. p. 237.) : Pagani bona et mala 
unum principium habere dogmatizant. His ego valde contraria sentio, qui bonis 
omnibus principium fiiteor Deum, contrariis vero Hylen : sic enim mali princi- 
pium ac naturam Theologus noster (Manes) appellat. And again, (L. xxi. c. 
1. p. 249.) : Duo principia confitemur, sed unum ex his Deum nominamus, alte- 
rum Hylen ' aut, ut communiter et usitate dixerim, Doimonem. - - - Duo prm- 

cinia doeco, Deum et Hylen. Vim omnem maleficam Hylae assignamus, et 

beneficam Deo, ut congruit But to denote the matter, good and bad, or light 
and darkness, over which those first Principles had dominion, they used the 
terms nature and sithstance. So Manes himself, in his Epistola Fundament!, 
[p. 757.] {a\)ud. August, contra. Epist. Fundam. c. 12, 13, p. 115): x\usculta 
prius quae fuerint ante constitutionem mundi, ut possis luminis sejungere notv^ 
ram ac tenebrarum. Haec quippe in exordio fuerunt, duce substantias a sese 
divisae. So also Faustus, and the rest of them, often. And Augustine, exactly 
according to the views of the sect, of which he had been a member, (de Haeres. 
c. 46. tom. viii. p. 11.) says: Ista duo principia inter se diversa et adversa, eadem- 
que aeterna ac coaeterna, hoc est, semper fuisse, composuit : duasque naturas ac 
substantias, boni scilicit et mali, opinatus est. — Yet examples occur in which this 
distinction is overlooked, and the term Jirst principle is applied to matter, and 
the word nature applied to God and the Demon. I have just cited a passage 
from Faustus, (L. xx. c. 1. p. 237.) in which he uses both principium and na- 
tura in reference to the demon. He adds, (L. xxi. c. 1. p. 249.) : Nee diffiteor, 
interdum nos adversam naturam nuncupare Deum. In a similar manner, they 
use the words light and darkness, w^hich properly denoting the matter over which 
God and the Demon reign, yet sometimes denote the Lords of matter, or God 
and Hyle. This is a minute criticism, but it will help us to understand better 
some declarations of the Manichseans. 

(2) Manes conceived, that in infinite space, there are two worlds, or two earths ; 
the one shining, and overspread with light ; the other very caliginous, or full of 
darkness and mists. In his Epistola Fundament!, (apud August, c. 12. p. 115.) 
Manes calls the former : Lucidam et beatam terram ; and, Illustrera et sanctam 



Manicha'an Dualism. 077 

terrain. The latter he calls, (ibid. 15 .p. IIG.) Tcrram tenebrarum : ondTornun 
pestiferam. Both these worlds existed from eternity ; neither of them h:id a be<Tiii- 
ning, or can have an end, or become extinct. Of the world of light or the empire 
of Cod, Manes also says, (ibid. p. 115.) : Ita autem fundata sunt ejusdem (Dei) 
splondidissima regna supra lucidam et beatam terram, ut a nullo unquam aut 
moveri aut concuti possint. These passages prove the enduring stability of the 
world of light. That he believed the same stability characterized the world of 
darkness, is manifest from what he says of the destruction of our world, and the 
events that are to follow. For when God shall have conquered the Prince of 
darkness, he will not destroy his kingdom: ilial is beyond his power, since the 
world of darkness has an equally necessary existence, with the world of light. 
But, as the power of God is greater than that of the Ruler of darkness, he will 
shut up the latter in that realm of darkness of which he is Lord. On the eter- 
nity of the world of light there is a noted passage of Felix the Manichaean, in 
his Dispute with Augustine, (L. I. c. 17. 18. p. 342. 343.) Augusihie a&ks him: 
Fecitne Deus, an genuit, terram illam lucis, an aequalis et coa^tanea illi erat? 
Felix at first replies evasively, and conceals his opinion. For he only proves 
that there are two worlds: Duae terrae mihi vindentur esse, secundum quod 
Manichaeus dicit duo regna. Augustine declares himself not satisfied, and 
repeats the question. But Felix still seeks concealment, and strives to 
elude the subject. For the unhappy man, then a prisoner, was afraid [p. 758.] 
of the imperial laws, and of the authority of Augustine; as he does not dis- 
guise. He supposed, he would be accused and punished as a blasphemer, if he 
should deny that heaven, tl)e residence of God, was created by God. But, be- 
ing pressed on every side, at last, laying aside fear, he stated clearly what he 
did believe : Dixisti de terra ilia, in qua Deus habitat, an facta est ab iilo, an 
generavit illam, an coaeterna illi est. Et ego dico, quia quomodo Deus aeter- 
nus est, et faetura apud ilium nulla est, totum (cternum. est. Augustine, not fully 
satisfied, asks again : Non illam ergo genuit, nee fecit ? And Felix answers 
most distinctly: Non, sed est illi coaeterna. A little after, he assigns the reason 
why he does not believe that the world of light was produced by God : Quod 
nascitur, finem habet : quod innatura, non habet finem. It appears that from 
this principle he reasoned thus : As the world of light will have no end, it of 
course cannot have had abeginning: and, therfore, it was not made or generated 
by God. After a few remarks not pertaining to our enquiry, he is again interro- 
gated by Augustine : Hujus ergo terrae (Deus) non est Pater, sed Inhabitator? 
And Felix unswers promptly: Etiam. Augustine proceeds: Ergo duae jam erunt 
res ambae ingenitae, terra et Pater 1 To this Felix replies : Tnnno ires sunt, 
Pater ingenitus, terra ingenila, et a'er ingenitus. Hence, it appears, that Manes 
assigned to the world of light an atjnosphere, or supposed that world compassed 
with air, just as ours is. That Manes supposed the same thing true of the world 
of darkness, there can be no doubt. That world, therefore, together with lis 
King or Lord, had existed from eternity. But, although both worlds have ever- 
lasting duration and permanence, and cannot be overthrown or demolished, yet 
it is possible that violence and injury should be done to them, or that some por- 
tion of either should be taken from it, and that world thus become diminished. 



278 Century III.— Section 41. 

This is manifest b